You might think this is a Saturday Night Live skit, but no, it is for real and right here on the streets of San Francisco. Chess players are getting the boot. Chess players! Are these not people who have patience, nerve, will power and concentration? Does chess not develop logical thinking, and promote creativity since no two games are alike? Is sidewalk chess not one of the most inclusive and democratic games, open to everyone? What other sport so swiftly demolishes the generation gap; you see all ages playing each other. You can’t find that on the soccer field.
Chess is an art form in the beauty and grace of its pieces and boards. Chess is cheap fun, and, as Iris Fuller always said, “Cheap fun chases the blues.” How true, and how valuable in its own right even without all the other advantages of chess.
There are said to be criminal activities around the chess players. Well, why not get rid of the criminals and leave the chess players. Clean up around the chess players instead of cleaning out the chess players.
Chess has been a game of elegance, a nod to refinement since Ancient times. Alfred Binet demonstrated in the late 19th century that good chess players have superior memory and imagination. And we want to get rid of that? Are not social services are always looking for programs that promote mental ability? Why in the world get rid of the players of the game that does just that?
Here is a thought. San Francisco builds a chess park, complete with beautiful chessboard tables as well as seats for players and spectators. And posted somewhere at the entrance of that park is an engraved plaque with a love letter from the Board of Supervisors to the San Francisco sidewalk chess players expressing their gratitude to the men and woman who are increasing the collective IQ of San Francisco and adding to the pizzazz and charm for which San Francisco always wants to be noted.
From me to you with love in the air,
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