Tom Fineberg

South Side Weekly: "Across the Board"

Natalie Friedberg asks an Edgewater resident who hasn't lived south of Madison since 1981 to whitesplain chess on the South Side. Did I mention that I am a Cubs fan who boycotted the Sox victory celebration when it was two blocks from my Loop office? I'm just a soul whose intentions are good....and I'm not the focus of the article, anyway.

Friedberg's article could have also featured the efforts of folks like John Porter and Nathan Kelly (see the Chicago Area Chess Facebook group for other South Side chess events), but this is a nice introduction to the history and current status of South Side chess, with kind words for us and for several of our friends!

From the article itself:

“What are the two meccas for chess right now when it’s not the summer time? On the North Side there’s a Starbucks and on the South Side it’s the McDonald’s,” Brock said. “These are the linchpins of the community. That’s how far chess in Chicago has fallen.”

Brock and the new CCC are trying to bring back a sense of centralized community by reinstituting a center in the downtown area, which could serve both South Side and North Side players. But the money to rent a space hasn’t been raised yet. In the meantime, the CCC holds workshops and affordable tournaments all over the city, including two tournaments a month at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) on the Near West Side. The UIC tournaments attract a diverse array of people, geographically and socioeconomically.

But we also grant Darcy Linde's counterpoint: when the Chicago Chess Center opens, it will not (and indeed cannot) be a substitute for chess activity in the neighborhoods. Our collective goal should be both/and, not either/or.