Sunday, September 20, 2009

Behind Enemy Lines

Tomorrow the Blaze go up against the formidable San Francisco Mechanics. Earlier this summer, I paid a visit to the Mechanics Institute Library and Chess Room, where the Mechanics play their games. It's a classy joint if ever there was one. It's nice, old, opulent, and about as different from Patio A/B at the Skokie Holiday Inn as a place could be. Wood and brass appointments abound. Did I forget to mention that it's refined and cultured? The chess tables with embedded boards have pockets for the captured pieces. Very classy. You can tell chess and other intellectual pursuits have been going on there for a long time. Here's more:

“The Institute has a rich and colorful history. Founded just after the Gold Rush to provide technical education and training for mechanics and to promote local and California industry, the Institute today is a vibrant intellectual and cultural center serving the entire Bay Area.

“Housed in its one hundred year-old landmark building on Post Street, the Institute serves its members with a large general-interest circulating and research library, offering book discussion groups, writers’ groups, and Internet research classes; the oldest chess club in the United States with activities for players of all abilities from beginners to grand masters; and an active program of literary and cultural events, including author programs, film series, salons, special events and art exhibitions.”

I offer this in the hope that visualizing where the Mechanics are playing will help the Blaze beat them.

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