Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Chess in the Library: Natural Harmony

Chess Library
Is this not perfect? 

It is a wonderful synthesis when two hobbies in life come together in such a perfect way. Activities like watching TV and eating dinner, walking and daydreaming, owning a cat and being a masochist. I am talking about my love of chess and my love of libraries. Whether it be in a private home library or a public venue one can enjoy both in tandem.

My father showed me how to play when I was six. My uncles all played too. They had fun knocking me around. Eventually my Uncle Vincent who was really into chess took me under his wing. It was the late 70s. Medieval imagery and stories were booming at that time. Tolkien, Arthurian lore, role-playing games were all being brought out from the colleges and into the mainstream. I remembered being immersed in this fascinating bygone era. It was a mix of fantasy, history, fact and fairy-tale. I could not get enough of it. I think that it was one of the things my parents really shared in common. They weren't scholars or serious hobbyists. They just found it fascinating and it rubbed off on me.

Chess Library
A lovely hotel amenity
The game of chess really was a perfect admixture for all that culture from all those different sources. I always associated chess with that era of my life. Also, chess and its relation to medieval history brought to me an appreciation of academia and libraries. Museums and libraries brought me to a deeper, more complex appreciation for the book. From the book to writing to blogging. So all this comes together quite nicely.

Now, what better room is there for your chessboard than your personal library. (And no, your chess app on your e-reader does not count!) Sorry, you need reality and a room. You need wood shelves, old books, some comfy chairs, a fireplace if you are lucky. The parlor isn't really that good. The TV is there. It is usually a central hub of the house with people going in and out. A private room with few distractions aside from the tinkling of ice in your whiskey glass. Just you and your opponent. I wonder how many old  That is a good time.

What's in your chess library?
Public libraries too can join in the fun. They often are host to small public gatherings, book signings and informative guest speakers. Chess is not always played privately. It has been known to be a spectator sport. The library provides a wonderful setting for friends or chess clubs to get together over the pieces. It is a great way to use the library and advertise a game steeped in tradition.

Speaking of chess clubs while I was researching this blog I found a nice organization called Chess In The Library. They are a primarily Canadian group who fosters chess clubs that meet in libraries across Canada. Why let the Canadians have all the fun? I'm sure some other countries out there can do the same. And yes, I am sure some already have their own. So, if you are looking to join a chess club and are less than thrilled with online play go to your local library and see if they have something going on.

Chess Library
These guys really get into it!

Chess Library
This is more along what I was thinking :)

No comments:

Post a Comment