News & Events for Chesapeake Bay

Cuba in Check: Chess Grandmaster, Susan Polgar, was in Havana when the travel rules changed (Photo Gallery)

Date Posted: 2019-06-11
Source: Lisa Suhay, news editor

Editor's Note: For full details please see our story "New Rules on American Travel to Cuba Include Cruise Ship & Recreational Vessel Ban" by Waterway Guide's Cuba Guide Co-Author, Addison Chan.

When chess legend, Grandmaster Susan Polgar and her husband Paul Truong decided go on a cruise ship to Cuba they never expected to be engaged in a game of international politics. Yet there stood the Queen of chess, on board the Empress of the Seas, Royal Caribbean cruise ship at the Port of Havana on June 5 the day the U.S. government ordered a new travel ban to the island that includes recreational vessels and cruise ships.

All images used in this article were taken by Paul Truong and supplied to Waterway Guide News.

According to Polgar, who spoke with Waterway Guide in an exclusive interview, "The main reason for me traveling to Cuba is chess. It is a country rich in chess culture, and I currently have four students from Cuba, two of which were on the Cuban National Chess Team for many years."

"One of the highlights of our trip, to pay respect to the great Cuban Chess Champion Capablanca," Polgar added. José Raúl Capablanca y Graupera was a Cuban chess player who was world chess champion from 1921 to 1927.

A chess prodigy, Capablanca is considered by many as one of the greatest players of all time for his exceptional endgame skill and speed of play.

"We had a chance to visit so many beautiful sites in Havana. The people were very nice and friendly. The food was also excellent," Polgar wrote on Facebook shortly before the travel ban was announced last week.

Polgar added in the same post, "The vendors, restaurants, and local businesses, all really appreciate the tourists."

"I think it is important for Americans to see how average Cubans live," Polgar added.

Polgar concluded, "I hope one day in the near future, the current laws will change and Americans can freely travel to Cuba again"




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