Chess and Me
I first learned how to play chess in fifth grade (a very formative year for me - I discovered chess, science, basketball, and girls). Our school was too small to have a formal chess club. Instead, I spent many hours after school playing our mathematics teacher Paul Walker using a set identical to the replacement that I have purchased and is shown above. I never did win very many games (one or two), and almost exclusively played the Giuoco Piano. I never knew enough to do anything different. I now have a USCF membership, but I have yet to play a rated game. I primarily joined to get Chess Life and eventually establish a scholastic club here at Ferris State University.
Even though my chess abilities have not improved all that much, my passion for the game continues unabated. Something about this game seems to lead to obsessions (ever notice how many of the chess greats had some sort of mental issues?). My current chess activities involve four areas (for now).
I really want chess to become a “thing” in Big Rapids. We have a lot of coffee shops and other places where people congregate to pass the time during our long, cold, dark winter months. Why not play chess? So… I bought ten chess sets and distributed them around town for everyone to enjoy. Now I periodically check up on them to replace damaged or lost pieces. Apparently chess can be a violent game…
On campus, I have been trying to get a chess RSO (Registered Student Organization) going. No luck thus far, but a few regulars have been gathering to play pick-up games. Anil Venkatesh from the Mathematics department has been leading the way for the past year or so (I have been tied up with General Education duties). However, I am looking forward to playing a lot more in the 2018/2019 academic year. So stop on by and play a game (or two).
I play online chess in two places. The first is here on chess.com. I have also set up a group for the Big Rapids Chess Club online. You can play for free on this site, or pay for more privileges. I personally have a “diamond” account under the user name of Wee_Beasties. Hey, I’m a microbiologist - what did you expect??
The second place that I play online is lichess.org. This is another free site. I do not pay on this site, but I do play. My handle here is WeeBeasties. I have also set up a Big Rapids Chess Club Team on this site for anyone that is interested.