chess friends

Chess Friends

Divide and you will find!
Funny name, real interests
[ Sign up | Log in | Guest ] (beta)
ccmcacollister 803 ( +1 | -1 )
Chess Players in Society Today ...?! {Advance warning: this is long, some old stuff in it, subjective and potentially boring! Please do not read if you will be offended by poor, boring, aor non-concise writing or mistakes of spelling, grammar, or world view! While -I- AM easily bored... still I crave to see Forum Threads, despite the danger my writing may bore myself as well. Hopefully my intent will succeed, which is to draw forth your great comments, insights aor witty reparte to pull me thru another night, for I no cable TV! :) ...}
##########
I was looking thru the GK news items page and found this story for A.P. interesting:
***
-> www.latimes.com

Chess Players ...Chucked Out of Mall
***
It brings me to think about the place of Chess players in Society. I've heard that Russia holds us in great esteem; or at least its Grandmasters, but I think the game in general seems to be much more of an institution there. And a young Chess playing friend from the Netherlands tells me of the Chess Clubs/Teams that are present in most every town of any size & population. It sounded like perhaps the government even had a hand in providing these!?
Perhaps other counties view us fondly as well? But not the USA it seems.
.....
I'd like to hear if this article is similar to your country? Becasue it is VERY similar to the situation in Omaha, Nebraska where Chess players have been thrown out of any reputable business, or not so reputable(?! :) , you can name!
Well that is an exaggeration, but consider this ...
....
The Chess club had a home in a church here for a number of years. One of the players attended there and we were well accepted. But eventually things broke down. The player with the key would forget to lock-up. Some people would play for Quarter stakes, in 5 minute games, which might ahve been viewed as gambling, but truthfully, they did do that just as an incentive and score keeping device. So players got to slide on that, as being Lesson Fees. Not too far off the mark considering certain Masters there and Experts would generally always win ... so the student would get some tuition back for not losing on occassion. :)
But I've heard the real club ender was not this but people having kids running around the building and one night a homeless person getting in for a sleep over. Not to say that any of them stole or bothered things. Never saw that happen. Yet you have to wonder ... perhaps it was more a case of being tired of dealing with us, chessplayers.
From there the ragtag band of Thursday night warriors gravitated to a large book store ... throw out after several months ... going to the one across the street and changing to Tuesday nights. This lasted for quite some time. But just like the article said; players were not buying food and beverages (books I'm not sure on) & might even bring their own or order water. And could get a bit loud, tho not terrible, at blitz or bughouse especially. And so it ended.
***
From there, a convenient conveniece grocery was found on the other side of town.
The rule there was that we could stay as long as we were eating. One night I sat and ate four TV dinners, when no one seemed hungry :) So that bought us about 3 hours. Alas, that lasted only weeks.
***
Then another friendlier coffeehouse welcomed us! Opened on Sunday just for us to have tournaments there ... the owner never played but enjoyed seeing intellectual
pursuits. A rennaissance man! This worked out great for several years. They fixed up our own room to play. Let us have keys to enter, and collect our own payments for food and beverages, to leave by the till, if the owner was late or not there that day. The trust and accomodation was greatly appreciated, and was not abused! It was a great time for the club.
***
Now at night after closing there tho, some would go to the late night coffee house
to play more. It was a very loud place with poor lights, but desperate players will take skittles game anywhere, yes? Therefore player noise was no problem. But taking tables was. Even though wewere buying there, or the half who were would by enough for twice as many people as we had ... I drank mocha cappacino like it was godly nectar.
....
But soon we were limited to two tables for Chess. (Hardly had more than 3 any-way). Then finally they were asked to leave. I wasnt there at the time so dont know the particulars of that. But it is interesting to see where Chess fell on the Social ladder, and who was Not asked to leave; basically those chosen over us:
***
{I'm not making any judgements here, only observation}
Standard-profile coffehouse clients, Smokers, Businessmen afterwork crowd, Swinging singles, gay singles, musicians, obviously stoned persons, minors, the guy who would stand at a podium and pretend to direct a symphony, the Goth, the Punkers, illegal aliens, the falldown drunk wander-ins ... Actually, I never saw anyone else but Chess players sent away! Are we then so bad, awful, plague ridden?! (Or just "Boring", as per "Dear Abby's" opinion. She'd rather date a truckdriver from Sioux City, Iowa ... whatever THAT means! ??! :)
***
And then finally our great coffee house from Heaven, the one that LIKED us, had to let us go. Not due to any antics, as one misinformed Chess writer suggested, but just closing up shop due to slow business and inability to keep counter help.
But, so it seems that even at Best Behavior, when guilty of Naught ... Chess players cant seem to get a fair image here in this city. [Attempts to meet at fast food chains always failed fast too]
And the NY article from AP hit home too.
...
Once before it all we'd had a home every Saturday at the YMCA, thruout the 60's and 70's. And thought there always would be since it was rumoured that the club founder, a minister, had a provision in the Y's charter saying there would always be a Chess club there named after him. But, they booted everyone anyway when the Reverend, and then his successor, the somewhat famous Director/Organizer/ and Chess writer Jack Spence also died. [A personal comment, a very great guy, organizer and Chess advocate. Certainly in the top 2 or 3 our area ever saw].
***
Yet the game is liked in schools here.Usually limited to after school sportlike/club activity. But considered to be good for the kids and help stimulate mental growth! And it is accepted in companies ... many allowing a company Chess Tournament, or Club. And actually having a Corporate match between Mutual of Omaha and the Northwestern Bell Telephone Company (Now Q-west)(won by the former, and covered in the city newspaper, in an entire Extra section of it. And also, we had successful TOURNAMENTs again, after some stagnation following Mr Spence's death, thruout the 80's and 90's thanks to two of the other great organizers/directors of our time, Dennis Wasson (among the most active in the nation, noted in Chess Life Magazine for such) and his successor Hal Cleminson; who both spent years directing events at the Public Library. The Library was okay with us. and Tournaments had many accepting venues, under these Directors. Tho some others had troubles keeping their sites, apparently. It was just a CLUB that we cannot seem to hold together here. [Why? How? What to DO !? Any Ideas ... we've already seen the Club Booklet from USCF. ]
***
How is Chess accepted in your area, your nation, your society? Where are you on the social scale there, when found to be a Chess player ... trying to play Chess?
Has it changed; better or worse? Changing? Any thoughts why? Have you gone thru the lost venue oddessy ? Did it help to PAY for them? (It does here it seems)
Spill your brains please !
*****
}8-)
ionadowman 76 ( +1 | -1 )
Sounds familiar... ...though in New Zealand it varies from city to city. Auckland and Christchurch clubs managed over several years to get their own dedicated premises - actually old houses they have bought and adapted. These have been well established for years now... Wellington had two clubs (Civic and Wellington) I was a member of the former for 7 or 8 years (off and on) in the 70s and 80s. In that time it had 3 or 4 premises - the basement of the YWCA (I seem to recall) then a series of church or community halls. Upper Hutt (a city close to Wellington) had a very active club that thrived on the enthusiasm of its President, Anton Reid. I was a member for a while, but found commuting to and from Wellington was just too much... Don't know too much about the experience of clubs in smaller centres.
ionadowman 76 ( +1 | -1 )
Sounds familiar... ...though in New Zealand it varies from city to city. Auckland and Christchurch clubs managed over several years to get their own dedicated premises - actually old houses they have bought and adapted. These have been well established for years now... Wellington had two clubs (Civic and Wellington) I was a member of the former for 7 or 8 years (off and on) in the 70s and 80s. In that time it had 3 or 4 premises - the basement of the YWCA (I seem to recall) then a series of church or community halls. Upper Hutt (a city close to Wellington) had a very active club that thrived on the enthusiasm of its President, Anton Reid. I was a member for a while, but found commuting to and from Wellington was just too much... Don't know too much about the experience of clubs in smaller centres.
schaakhamster 157 ( +1 | -1 )
well I have heard stories about Belgian clubs being moved from place to place but my old club played until 2 or 3 years ago in a room above a café/hotel-sort of thing... I wasn't bad but there were 2 rather annoying problems: the room was getting rather small and some parents weren't to happy with the café... eventually the owners decided to close the café and concentrate on the hotel... this was a blessing in disguise as we moved to a school not far from there... things really began to boom from that moment on... youth players began streaming in, we had all the place in the world (in fact the club organises the last round of the provenical team league, which comes to about 150 players), the school doesn't really charge the club a lot because some childern have joined the club, we sell our own beverages a reasonable prices which is an absolute goldmine, leading to a total renewall of our equipment (including about a dozen electronical clocks) ... when I joined the club about 5 years ago the club was just recovering from a near death situation (a few years before there were about 7 or 8 memebers left), now the club has about 60 members (about half are youth players) and at a typical fridayevening about 30 people can be found at the club ... sadly enough I have moved to another city and to another club but I do visit from time to time :D

about chess in belgium in general: it's a lot less popular than in the netherlands but my general impression is a slow but certain grow :)...
futile 94 ( +1 | -1 )
Though I'm not a member of the local chess club here in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada), it's venue is an old armory that has several other functions as well (small museum for example).

There seems to be a trend in North America to have "dedicated" spaces for certain business endevors, such as mall food courts, were individuals must be actively engaged in parting with their money. Try to just sit and read in a food court without buying anything. You will soon be asked to make a purchase or leave. Making a purchase only buys you some additional time to sit (but not much).

I think it's the "maximizing profits" mindset that leads to chess players (those trashy people) being kicked out of places like coffee shops and food courts.

Just don't play chess in the back alleys with the bums, because then they will get kicked out with you!
brilliance 79 ( +1 | -1 )
.. Here in Sweden, Gothenburg where I live, there's a fairly large section with 8-10 tables at the public library where games always are played. Sometimes I go down there, playing the wide range of unemployed people who, at least before, were there for the free toilets. One or two can really give me a game, despite the very rough look and a breath that smells booze. Other than that, a few coffeeshops has dedicated tables for chess purpose, these are heavily influenced by bohemian design of course, it's not like modern pubs see the regular chessplayer as a marketing group that give profit.

Gothenburg isn't a huge city though, we're just above the 700k mark. I guess the raw-capitalistic view isn't as common here as in NY f.e.
ccmcacollister 46 ( +1 | -1 )
Begging your pardon ... Apparently the link I used in the initial post here takes you, not to the story, but to a sign in page of the L.A. Times if you are not a logged-in member there. And GK doesn't count there. So instead, here is the link to the GK News page where then you can just click on the Dec. 3rd story of the Mall-Banished Chessplayers. Oh the ignomious fate that can befall those who love our game . . . :-((
* * * * * * * * * * ...................................................
................................. -> gameknot.com ............................
muppyman 89 ( +1 | -1 )
My observation, In Christchurch (NZ ) there is a giant chess set in Cathedral square in the centre of the city that is used constantly all day long and in the small town where I live just north of Christchurch we have a small club which meets every second Tuesday evening in a local school. Although our cities are small, I remember many years ago playing in various suburbs of Auckland, e.g. Dominion Road, Waitakere, Auckland chess centre in Mount Eden, North shore club, Remuera club, Howick-Pakuranga to name a few, and all were solidly supported. In Indonesia (Bali, Lombok, and Java at least) it was a pleasure to see countless people who happily squattet on footpaths (sidewalks) and played chess at all hours and were never a problem to anyone. If you suffer from space deprivation chesswise, pop over to New Zealand and enjoy the royal game here. :)