Charles Dickens penned “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” as his opening line in his masterpiece A Tale of Two Cities. I found myself pondering Dickens work and applying the opening line to the plight of the poor chess players in two Bay Area cities.
As many of my reader are aware, San Francisco has recently closed down the traditional street chess games on Market Street near the BART station. It seems that the city government of San Francisco is playing a gambit against the city’s homeless and the removal of the chess games is yet another move to sacrifice the lowest of pawns. My “Open Letter to Gavin Newsom” remains unanswered and I am getting the feeling that Mr. Newsom has no intention of addressing San Francisco’s attack on one of the most harmless activities that the “street people” amuse themselves with. Perhaps the city has justifiable reasons for its removal of the chess games on Market Street. The fact that I have received no response from the mayor leads me to believe otherwise.
Across the bay there is another city called Oakley. It was here, on July 3, that I was given permission to set up chess tables for the annual cityhood celebration. Oakleys Mayor, Pat Anderson, made the many chess players feel welcome and took the time to steer us into the right avenues toward finding a regular place to hold a city chess club. Chess is a new addition to the young city but based on the response it received on July third, I imagine it will soon be another Bay Area chess success story.
If you are one of the many disenfranchised chess players in San Francisco, please take the time to contact Gavin Newsom and suggest that he should take a lesson from Pat Anderson on how to run a city that is fair to all its citizens… even its chess players.