Smoke Signals: Where are all the chess men?
by Tim Troglen
Hudson Hub-Times reporter

The thought of a column on chess crossed my mind a few days ago.

I was getting a bit frustrated at the lack of chess aficionados in my circle of friends.

It began when a good friend of mine, originally from Glascow, Scotland, gave me a hand-crafted chess set as a gift. He molded the pieces out of lead and painted them himself.

They depict medieval pawns standing in protective service of the royal house of king, queen, bishop, knight and rook. Each piece is on a round-wooden base — 16 dark and 16 light.

As friends admired the pieces being spread out on a small table, I would ask, “Do you play?”

The answer was routinely, “no.” I had a new chess set and no one to play with.

I was a bit down. Chess is a very special game to me. My favorite opponent and the person who taught me to both play and love the game, my dad, died about five years ago.

And each time I see a chess piece, play a game or set up a board, I feel a bit closer to him.

I remember learning to play chess with my dad’s favorite set. It was a black and white set of Staunton pieces which were about 4 inches tall.

Dad had taken the felt from the bottom of the hollow pieces and filled each one with melted wax and BBs.

HE DID that so the pieces would be heavier and less likely to tip if the board was bumped by his young son, me.

After the felt was carefully replaced and the wax cooled, the pieces were placed on the faux marble board.

To me, it looked amazing.

Dad, like me, loved to study the game. He’d cut chess games from the local newspaper and save them to be studied and worked through later.

Dad could, unlike me, keep chess notation in the old school style, which was changed several years ago.

Dad even watched televised games. In 1997, I remember sitting down with him and watching then reigning World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov lose to the IBM-created chess computer Deep Blue.

Chess was a deep bond we shared most of my life.

Here is the full article.

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