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Dave, haven't you heard? This is just the pilot program, and preparation for missionary work in China. My son's seminary teacher said that there is an entire wing of the MTC that is being quietly remodeled to in order to give the missionaries ping pong instruction. That's why they have to call the 800 number and talk to president Hinckley, so he can remind them to pack some ping pong paddles.

Truly, I think vodka and zakuskis would have been openers of the way in the Soviet Union, but we LDS have a problem with the first part of the equation... ;)

More (semi-)seriously, chess may be a culturally Russian game, but I think it may take up too much brainpower to permit discussions in the same way ping-pong does. (Exhaustion of the mind vs. exhaustion of the body after a game...hm.)

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