Years ago, I had a discussion with your staff about including a chess column. I was told that readers weren’t interested, and it wasn’t worth the cost.
Recently, however, this paper has published several stories about the art, science, and sport of chess, including regional competitions and information about local clubs. Since the young Norwegian, Magnus Carlsen, captured the world championship last year, I’ve noticed a surge of interest here in the United States.
Not many months ago, the Russian champion, Garry Kasparov, was invited to the Cook County Jail to teach inmates the nuances of the game. Here at Stateville Correctional, multiple pairs of players compete not only during our bi- or tri-weekly recreation periods, but one can hear games being played between cells when locked in.
Besides passing the time and getting one’s mind off of other problems, chess teaches persistence, patience, planning, critical thinking, and fair play, qualities to which not only prisoners should aspire. Besides, it’s fun.
Those of us without Internet access depend on the printed page and would welcome a daily chess column. Indeed, those with a computer might also appreciate this paper’s interest and support of a pastime that breaks down political, economic, racial, religious, and national barriers.
Consider a line from the film, “War Games,” “Wouldn’t you rather like to play a game of chess?”