By Lauren Pack, Staff Writer 11:15 PM Saturday, April 17, 2010
TURTLECREEK TWP. — A Middletown attorney walked into a room of men at the Community Corrections Center, lugging a plastic storage bin filled with chess sets.
Tanned from driving his convertible, wearing khakis and an Oxford cloth shirt, the 59-year-old looks like the a polar opposite of the men trying to overcome addiction in the lock-down facility.
But looks are sometimes deceiving.
“I am Chris Atkins and I am a chessaholic,” he said while putting on his reading glasses.
He has played the game since the sixth grade. It took him on adventures throughout the country for tournaments and won him friends, but it became an addiction once he entered the world of online speed chess.
Atkins spent hours playing chess games lasting 2 to 10 minutes online. Sometimes he would enter his computer chess world at 9 p.m. and stay there until the wee hours of the morning, with just enough time for an hour’s sleep and a shower before going to work.
It strained his family life and stressed his well-being. In January 2001, he went “cold turkey.”
“I am the only attorney in Butler County without a computer in his office,” Atkins said.
But that doesn’t mean he has given up his enthusiasm for the game.
Atkins still plays at the Dayton Chess Club, in area tournaments and does demonstrations for school, clubs and prisons. He occasionally plays online, but never in the speed category where your standing is enhanced by the number of people you beat.
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