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David R. Sands

David R. Sands

Raised in Northern Virginia, David R. Sands received an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a master's degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He worked as a reporter for several Washington-area business publications before joining The Washington Times.

At The Times, Mr. Sands has covered numerous beats, including international trade, banking, politics and Capitol Hill, and spent eight years on the foreign desk as senior diplomatic correspondent. He is currently the deputy editor for politics. In addition, he has reviewed books and written feature stories for the newspaper and authored The Times' weekly chess column since 1993. He is also senior writer for Washington GolfStyles, a monthly publication covering the Mid-Atlantic golf scene.


Articles by David R. Sands

SANDS: Spirited chess battle a draw for Kramnik, Aronian

The six-game match between Russian GM Vladimir Kramnik and Armenian GM Levon Aronian that wrapped up in Zurich on Sunday proved unexpectedly entertaining. The world's No. 2 and No. 3 players, evenly matched and theoretically armed to the teeth, showed a refreshing willingness to mix it up and take risks before settling for a 3-3 tie after Kramnik just missed a win in Sunday's final round. Published May 1, 2012

SANDS: Catching a chess champion when he's distracted

Champions may be most vulnerable right before they defend their titles. Deep into the preparation for his 12-game match against challenger GM Boris Gelfand of Israel starting May 11 in Moscow, titleholder Viswanathan Anand of India took a little timeout this month to hold down first board for the Baden-Baden team in final rounds of the powerful German chess Bundesliga. Published April 24, 2012

SANDS: Chess champion Kaufman offers new, improved opening book

Intending to update his highly praised 2003 book "The Chess Advantage in Black and White," Potomac GM and former world senior champion Larry Kaufman instead has produced a major new opening book likely to prove useful for competitors from casual club players to experienced masters. Published April 17, 2012

SANDS: Buzzer-beater clinches chess title for Texas Tech

To the disappointment of basketball fans everywhere, this year's hardwood version of the collegiate Final Four featured no buzzer-beaters, no last-minute 3-pointers to win the game. Happily, the collegiate chess version of the Final Four, won for the second straight year by the Texas Tech Knight Raiders earlier this month, offered a bit more excitement as the clocks ticked down on the decisive game. Published April 10, 2012

SANDS: Chess players who didn't spring forward fall back

They can analyze complex positions 15 moves deep, memorize reams of opening variations and endgame theory, rattle off the moves of games played a decade ago — but they can't remember to set their clocks an hour ahead. Published April 3, 2012

SANDS: Rising stars light up Euro chess championship

Cue the chorus of "Sunrise, Sunset." In one more sign that kids grow up fast these days, 17-year-old prodigy GM Anish Giri had what for him rates as a novel experience: losing to a younger player. At the 13th European Individual Championship now under way in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, the reigning Dutch national champ fell to 15-year-old fellow prodigy GM Ilya Nyzhnyk from Ukraine. Published March 27, 2012

SANDS: Chess match made in heaven won't come off in Beijing

For one brief, shining moment last week, the impending world championship fight between Indian titleholder Viswanathan Anand and Israeli challenger Boris Gelfand was shaping up to be the second most interesting match of the year. Published March 20, 2012

SANDS: A full house at U.S. Amateur Team East chess championship

As the politicians will tell you this election year, support is nice, but it's turnout that's critical. By that score, this year's U.S. Amateur Team East championship, held again in its familiar Parsippany, N.J., home, surpassed even its high standards. Published March 13, 2012

SANDS: Saluting some chess greats of greatest generation

Chess is witnessing the passing of its own "greatest generation" of luminaries who came of age in the years after World War II and would reshape and dominate the game for decades. In the past few years, we've lost two world champions — Bobby Fischer and Soviet star Vassily Smyslov — as well as such notables as German GM Wolfgang Unzicker, American Larry Evans, and the British player and author R.G. Wade. Published March 6, 2012


Conservative activist Andrew Breitbart dies at 43

Andrew Breitbart, the conservative journalist, Internet pioneer and provocateur who helped reshape the media landscape with tenacious and original political style, died early Thursday after collapsing on the street near his Los Angeles home. He was 43. Published March 1, 2012

SANDS: A royal conundrum: What to do about the king?

The beginning player is taught that the primary objectives of opening play are to develop the pieces and get the king castled safely. More sophisticated players know that in many modern opening lines, those rules, particularly about the king, are made to be broken. Sometimes, those sophisticated players would be wise to play like the beginners. Published February 20, 2012

SANDS: At the chessboard, expect sparks if lovers mate

Some wag once observed that no one ever joined the chess team in high school to meet girls, but for this, our Valentine's Day column, we'd like at least to try to make the case that chess and romance can prove a potent pair. Published February 14, 2012

SANDS: A poisoned pawn that hasn't lost its kick

Next time you're dining in Gibraltar, think twice before ordering the pawns. Two sharp games showcasing the notorious Sicilian Poisoned Pawn Variation top the menu today, served up at the just-concluded Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival, held on the British island at the entrance to the Mediterranean. Published February 7, 2012

SANDS: Low-key Aronian soars high in Wijk aan Zee chess tournament

Armenian GM Levon Aronian has added another chapter to a career that has been both illustrious and somewhat under the radar, capturing the 74th Tata Steel Grandmaster "A" Tournament in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands, Sunday by a full point over Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Azerbaijan's Teimour Radjabov. Despite a loss to Carlsen during the Category 21 event, Aronian won going away, notching a quick last-round draw to finish at a very impressive 9-4. Published January 31, 2012

SANDS: Drama in Dutch chess bout is from the undercards

Having spent the bulk of my competitive playing career somewhere in the middle of the wall chart, I am firmly convinced that some of the highest drama at a chess tournament can be found on some of the lowest boards. Published January 24, 2012

SANDS: Some are still ready to risk a fabled gambit

The most romantic of chess openings doesn't get many dates these days. A favorite of 19th-century masters, including Paul Morphy and Johannes Zukertort, and a powerful — if occasional — weapon in the arsenal of gunslingers such as David Bronstein and Boris Spassky, the King's Gambit is a rarity on the modern tournament circuit. Published January 17, 2012

SANDS: Giri, in a wild chess finish, wins Reggio Emilia

Was it the field or the format? This year's Reggio Emilia Tournament, the 54th edition of the event held in the small northern Italian city at the start of the new year, proved to be one of the most entertaining events in recent memory, with a large number of decisive games, an epic collapse by American GM Hikaru Nakamura and a stunning come-from-behind victory for 17-year-old Dutch star Anish Giri, who won the first of what likely will be many elite tournament trophies in the coming year. Published January 10, 2012

SANDS: Kaidanov's chess homework pays at Eastern Open

Kentucky GM Gregory Kaidanov is perhaps better known today as a chess teacher than a competitor. But he gave his students an object lesson on the value of doing one's homework while winning the 39th annual Eastern Open, held last week at its traditional home at the Westin Washington hotel downtown. Published January 3, 2012