Sunday, March 18, 2007

Chess4Chicago.com!

Lamarr Wilson is back.

Technically, of course, he never left. But if you’re one of those people for whom chess is the center of the universe, anyone who’s off doing anything else might just as well be living in Siberia. For Lamarr, the former chess coach at Joplin Elementary School and webmaster of a popular but now-defunct site about Chicago chess, personal exile from the game has, for the past year or so, centered on his educational-technology business Wilson EduTech, Inc. and a wide-ranging blog where he covers everything from the Internet to basketball to small ethical scandals that escape the notice of the mainstream media.

Educational technology is a fascinating and growing field. It’s an excellent place to build a career, meet interesting people, make contacts, and, of course, pay the bills.

There’s just one thing wrong: it’s not chess.

This fact seemed to hit home for Lamarr a few weeks ago, for after months of inscrutable messages to friends about his future in the Royal Game, he suddenly told them one day that he was starting a new site for scholastic chess in Chicago. He put his head down, pulled a couple of all-nighters, and two days later – voila!Chess4Chicago.com was born. And just in time for the March 3 tournament at Ray, where he took more than a hundred photos.

The new site is a lot like his old site, only different. It’s richer in several ways—it has a blog of its own—and has the potential to be richer still as the local chess community, hungry for a place to give and get information, flocks to the site and jumps in.

Chess4Chicago didn’t come along a minute too soon. Though the site is barely two weeks old it’s already hard to imagine how we ever got along without it. Lamarr’s coverage of the Ray tournament, the Illinois state championship in Bloomington last weekend, and the disastrous CPS championship and its aftermath have been invaluable, and they’ve attracted kudos from top chess blogs across the country. He's a good guy, a major asset to Chicago chess, and, best of all, a stalwart F.O.R.—that’s Friend of Ray.

Welcome back, Lamarr.
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Endgame: There’s something wrong in Lamarr’s photo. Can you tell what it is? There’s a Ray School Chess Club t-shirt in it for the first person who posts the right answer in the comments section of this message. Offer expires 12:00 midnight, Tuesday, March 20, Chicago time. (Hat tip: local scholastic chess star Kevin Velazquez)

5 comments:

Lamarr Wilson said...

I'm very moved by this very surprising article. I hadn't expected you to do this. Thank you so much; you've made my week start great! You're a great friend, and I'm glad to know and associate with you.

DG said...

The white King and Queen are on the wrong starting squares. They should be switched.

Tom Panelas said...

You win, DG! I'll e-mail you privately to get your size and the shipping address.

You'll be the envy of Boston and BCC with your Ray School Chess Club t-shirt.

DG said...

I can't wait to post a picture of me wearing it on BCC Weblog!

Tom Panelas said...

Neither can I!

P.S.: Now that our contest is over, Lamarr's picture has been replaced with one in which, if my limited knowedge of chess avails me, the white king and queen are where they belong.