Richard Riordan Chess Festival

Only a few days ago I found that our Chess Festival during the 18th Maccabiah is called in honor of Richard Riordan. Here is some interesting inormation about the main sponsor of Chess event.

In 1981, successful lawyer, businessman, hi-tech investor and venture 
capitalist Richard Riordan created the Foundation that bears his name. 
His simple goal: enable people to acquire skills necessary to compete 
successfully in society. He had an equally simple plan: teach children 
to read and write at an early age, and nurture leadership skills in 
young adults. The Riordan Foundation has an impressive record of 
computer-based, early childhood literacy programs across America and 
youth development and leadership programs with over 2,400 graduates. 
Its signature Rx for Reading programs have distributed over 25,500 
computers to over 2,140 schools in 40 states and provided funds for 
over 172,000 books purchased for elementary schools.

Richard Riordan won a decisive election victory in Los Angeles in 
1993, and quickly became one of the most successful and admired of big 
city mayors in the USA. He won a second term by a landslide in 1997, 
and had he not himself imposed the consecutive-terms limit, he would 
undoubtedly have been Mayor after 2001. For 8 years, he accepted a 
salary of exactly $1 per year. In 2003, he was the natural choice to 
serve as California Secretary of Education in Governor 
Schwarzenegger's first cabinet.

It will not surprise any Chess player to learn that Richard Riordan, 
the confirmed believer in the power of early education, is also
a lifelong aficionado of Chess and a friend of many leading players. 
When his advisor and friend Steve Soboroff formed the Los Angeles 
Committee of 18, Richard Riordan was moved to sponsor the 18th 
Maccabiah Chess Festival in recognition of Maccabi World Union's 
encouragement of young chess players in many countries.

The Richard Riordan Chess Festival (Israel, July 12-23 2009) includes:

A super-tournament (12 participants, average rating 2656, rapid and blitz)
Three festive sinultaneous displays by Boris Gelfand, Judit Polgar and 
Pavel Eljanov
A round-robin GM tournament and 2 IM tournaments
Open and Youth tournaments
Further attractions such as open blitz, and for the first time in 
Israel, underwater blitz!
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