News & Features

Chess Players: Want to Take on ‘The Octopus’ ?

Chess Challenge Oct. 24 in Missoula

Chess champion Greg Nowak of Missoula has earned the nickname “The Octopus” for his ability to play upwards of 30 opponents at one time: In 2000 at the Kalispell Center Mall, he played 65 people at the same time, beating everyone. Over the last few years he has held a popular annual chess tournament in downtown Kalispell. Check out my profile of him from 2007 here.

On Oct. 24, Nowak is taking on (virtually) all comers when he will play 35 opponents at one time at the Doubletree Hotel on Madison Street in Missoula. He called the Beacon Wednesday to invite Flathead Valley chess players to make the drive down to the Garden City to play him – and he’s offering a discount to anyone who says they read about the Octopus’ Chess Challenge on our Web site.

Registration will take place from 1:30-1:45pm with the challenge scheduled to begin at 2:00pm. Kids receive a discount of $5 from the $15 registration fee. Players who beat Nowak win $20, and those who play him to a draw earn $11. There will be door prizes, as well as chess books, chess sets and Octopus T-shirts for sale. Nowak said he prefers payment in cash, and he would also like players, if possible, to bring a chess set, since Nowak can’t supply all 35 himself, but he cautioned: “The Octopus reserves the right not to play on an inferior chess set.”

Spectators are welcome, but Nowak asks that everyone shows up and is ready to play by 2pm – latecomers won’t be able to join the challenge.

If you would like to register early, you can send your $10 to:

Greg Nowak
Hellgate Station
PO Box 8572
Missoula MT 59807