Posts Tagged ‘Mayor Newsom’

Chess Disappears from Market Street

June 18, 2010

Chess on Market Street in San Francisco.

Many large cities have a special place for chess enthusiasts to play outdoors. For example in Boston chess players play at Harvard Square. New Yorkers can always find a good chess game at Washington Square Park. For San Francisco, we used to play on Market Street near the Bart Station. Sadly, this San Francisco claim to fame has been shut down by the city. Please see “An Open Letter to Gavin Newsom” for my response to this recent tragedy. Below is a blitz chess game I played against Sam on Market Street in San Francisco.  

[Event “Market Street Chess”]
[Site “San Francisco”]
[Date “2009”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Chris Torres”]
[Black “Sam ?”]
[Result “1-0”]
[Opening “Bishop’s Opening”]
[TimeControl “5 Minutes”]

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d4 {This is a good “street chess opening.”} Nxe4?
{Black needed to play exd4.} 4. dxe5 Bc5 5. Bxf7+! {This is my method for
punishing players who play 3…Nxe4. 5. Qd5 also would have worked fine for
white.} Kf8 {If 5…Kxf7 then I would continue 6. Qd5+ Kf8 and then 7.
Qxe4.} 6. Qf3 d5?? {A terrible blunder. 6…Ng5 would have been black’s
best choice. Of course I would have continued 7. Bxg5 Qxg5 8.Bd5+} 7. Bxd5+
Nf6 {This move looks bad but is objectively best.} 8. exf6 Qxf6 9. Qxf6+
{It is good to trade while ahead.} gxf6 10. Bh6+ Ke7 11. Nf3 Bg4? {11…
Nc6 is better.} 12. Bxb7 Bxf3 13. gxf3 Nd7 14. Bxa8 Rxa8 15. Nc3 Bd4 16.
Nd5+ Kd6 17. O-O-O Kxd5 18. c3 c5 19. cxd4 cxd4 20. Be3 Rc8+ 21. Kb1 Ke6
22. Bxd4 Kf7 23. Rhg1 Rc4 24. Bxa7 Rc7 25. Be3 Ne5 26. Bf4 Ke6 27. Bxe5
fxe5 28. Rg4 Rf7 29. f4 exf4 30. Rd4 Ke5 31. Rgxf4 Rg7 32. Rde4+ Kd5 33.
Rg4 Rf7 34. Rgf4 Rg7 35. Rd4+ Ke5 36. Rfe4+ Kf5 37. f3 Rg1+ 38. Kc2 Rg2+
39. Rd2 Rg1 40. Rd5+ Kf6 41. f4 Rg2+ 42. Rd2 Rg1 43. Re5 Rg4 44. Rd6+ Kf7
45. Rf5+ Ke7 46. Rh6 Rg2+ 47. Kc3 Rg4 48. Rxh7+ Ke6 49. Re5+ Kf6 50. Rh6+
Kf7 51. f5 Rf4 52. f6 Kf8 53. Re7 *

An Open Letter to Gavin Newsom

June 16, 2010

Mayor Newsom,

San Francisco has lost one of its more charming attractions. It used to be that pedestrians strolling down Market Street near the Powell BART station would be treated to lively blitz games played by eclectic groups of chess enthusiasts. When in the area, I would frequently find myself battling wits with investment bankers, street merchants, tourists, and homeless persons. Unfortunately, this exposition of culture has been shut down by the city.

I launched an informal investigation as to why chess players were being targeted unfairly while street performers, panhandlers, and artists are still allowed to continue their practices in the area. Apparently an order was given by a high-ranking city official to the SFPD to shut down the games on the basis of poor behavior on the part of the chess players. Indeed, I would witness some money changing hands and the occasional intoxicated chess player. But are these behaviors being caused by the chess games or the urban environment? 

I believe in the positive impact the game of chess can have on individuals who are struggling do the fact that their decision-making skills are sub par. With funding for various organizations that help the homeless population being hit hard by the financial meltdown, I feel it is irresponsible if not mean-spirited for the city of  San Francisco to take away one of the few possibilities left for free and legal entertainment.  Furthermore, for a city that entices tourists to come on the basis of its many cultural opportunities,  it does not seem fitting for San Francisco to be shutting down harmless attractions such as chess. 

Sincerely,

Chris Torres


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