Sunday, July 26, 2009

Chicago, City of Chess

You could easily have concluded that Chicago was the chess capital of the world today, if you did as I did and took to the streets on this glorious late-July Sunday. First I visited the chess pavilion at North Avenue and the lakefront, where about ten games were in progress at all times throughout the afternoon. FM Aleksandar Stamnov and another gent were playing some kind of game that involved playing cards and chess pieces. I didn't understand it. Chess expert and pavilion mainstay Ron Washington, who usually cruises easily to victory there against unsuspecting patzers and tourists, had his hands full playing a series of three-minute blitz games against a young man who was every bit his equal.

After that it was off to Cecil Locke's chess tables in front of the Art Institute, which were rife with activity as usual. I played a boy named Alexander from Newberry Academy. Though I had a material advantage he lured me into stalemate and the game ended in a draw. He was a solid player, though he's not in a chess club because he says there's none at his school. All this talent shouldn't go to waste. Anybody at Newberry up for starting a chess club?