Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Giving Tuesday: Chicago Chess Center

There's a welcome new tradition this year: following the conspicuous consumption of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, charities are calling for us to help others on Giving Tuesday.

It's exciting to be in on the ground floor of something good. Since I entered the Chicago chess scene in 1977, I recall many fun days at Jules Stein's Chicago Chess Center, Richard Verber's various incarnations of the Chicago Chess Club, Les Bale's Lincolnwood Chess and Games (later transplanted to Lincoln Avenue in the city), Papa Dee's Chicago Chess Club, and (half a block from our apartment!) the Wild Onion.

Founders pass away and business models change: all these places are gone.

Keith Ammann came to me with a dream last year: why not found a permanent chess center in Chicago for Chicagoans? I told Keith that I was interested if we could do it in a way that would insure that the center remained after its founders were gone.

Our board (Keith Ammann, FM Albert Chow, Chris Christmas, Alyse Hammonds, Hector Hernandez, and myself; with the invaluable assistance of Les Bale) has made excellent progress. We've obtained nonprofit status for Chicago Chess Center NFP, Inc., we've received some generous donations, we're scouting for sites, planning fundraising events....and there's still so much to do before we open our doors.

Chess is not just a pleasant pastime, it transforms lives for the better. I know: I grew up in an Appalachian anthracite mining town. We lived in public housing, and my mother worked as a third-shift nurse's aide in a nursing home. Had it not been for chess, I never would have been admitted to MIT. For chess teaches critical thinking skills that helped me in math and science (and later in business), skills that are essential for success in our information economy.

We'd like to use the center to give Chicago's young people the same opportunities. And hey, adults are never too old to learn, never too old to share their wisdom with the young, and have a little fun in the process.

It's important to our mission that the site be accessible to those who need it the most. While our tendencies may be utopian socialist, we're also pragmatic enough to be committed to finding a site with off-street parking.

We also learn through competition.  The Center will have regular events open to all at affordable prices.

How can you help us open our doors in 2013?

  • Please become a Founding Member of the Chicago Chess Center today.   
    • If you'd prefer to use snail mail, please send your contribution to Chicago Chess Center NFP, Inc.,  230 W. Monroe, Suite 330, Chicago IL 60606.

  • Or give what you can afford: no donation is too small, and we truly appreciate your help.
  • If you'd like to make a capital donation to insure the future of the Chicago Chess Center, kindly drop me a line
  • Most of all, we need your input.  We need new board members, new committee members, legal counsel, and friends who offer good will. 
Chicago is your home and ours: your help today will help the Chicago chess culture for many years in the future.

Thank you for your support!

Bill Brock

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