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  Marquette Park chess playing was incredible important in my chess playing career.

It was the place I made my first, strong relationships outside my family.

Fieldhouse Chess Club Fieldhouse Chess Club

Tuesday night. 7 p.m. Chess Club.

I think I saw the notice, by accident, while going inside to get a drink of water.

The whole building was so old, so clean and so alive.

From the long slates of waxed wooden flooring to the tiling, just as gleaming, but obviously worn hard, in the often-pivoted corners of the hallway. Alive with ballroom dancing in the auditorium and basketball bouncing sounds resonating from the gym.

It's not an understatement that I loved the ambiance.

Semi-translucent glass panes in the windows framing the room of two lines of long folding tables lined with folding chairs, covered by parallel flurescent tubes above. The four quadrant locked locker storing the chess equipment: Rarely used books on the bottom of chess piece bags and folded chessboards. Not cardboard, dime store boards, but thick, textured black and yellow boards.

Keeping ''The Blacks'' Out of the Club
  Keeping black people out of the MarPar Chessmen club was a non-issue, at first, because no blacks came to play.

The more that the young players enjoyed rated, United States Chess Federation tournament, the more they wanted to have them at the club. That idea was nixed. The reasoning was that if the club became affiliated and tournaments were held, then blacks would come.

The president of the club said that it was not up to him. He was told by the fieldhouse that they didn't want it, so there was nothing he could do.

I kept my mouth shut.

Here we were five to eight years after the Martin Luther King march where MLK was bricked on the head. My high school (Gage Park: a mile and a half away) was half black and half white, but the club was not integrated.

Don't tell anyone, but I wrote a letter to the Park District head, but nothing came of it.

Chessnut Tree
What kind of tree does a chess player play by?

A Chessnut Tree

Gintaras Club

Where is chess playing in Marquette Park now?


Importance of Rated vs. Unrated Playing
If you played both, which was more important in your chess-playing career?

Same Importance
View Results

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