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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Portrait of a Chess Tutor, in the Village

Chess tutor, nyc Photo by myself at Thompson and West Third Streets, in the Village.

Robert, a chess tutor, teaches the game to youngsters and adults alike at Chess NYC, a store in the Village.

I had a fun, long chat with Robert, Tuesday afternoon. He had just finished up teaching an older gentleman at the store. Open 24-hours a day, the store has a clubhouse vibe, with chess boards and trophies crowding the walls, and many chess boards set up at tables, ready for play.

Robert has been teaching chess for the last 20 years (!) after competing against adults as a youth. He now teaches both youngsters and adults the art of chess.

'The chess pieces come alive to kids', Robert explained, "The pawns can be 'storm troopers'. The rook...a 'wookie'. Part of teaching kids means understanding their language."
  Chess Shop, nyc Different chess pieces line inhabit the motley storefront.

Besides instilling discipline and patience, Robert told me that learning chess helps kids manage their time.

"The kids develop...'poise'," he told me. With every game, there is a winner and a loser. And chess is one of the only sports where a kid can find him or herself competing against adults.

Chess NYC coaches school chess teams and runs several summer camp programs in Manhattan. The camp schedule includes practice, play and coaching with a Grandmaster, several of whom are affiliated with Chess NYC.

Starting August 20th, Magnus Carlsen, the Number 1 ranked chess player in the world, will be teaching summer camp at the store (!).

You can sign up for classes and camp on the Chess NYC website, here.
Sign up using the special password 'rholyfield10', and receive 10% off!

The Portrait Series is a once-in-a-while installment, featuring New Yorkers encountered on the street.

Related posts: Portrait of a Bike Messenger, in Midtown, Portrait of Five New Yorkers, on the Upper East Side, and Portrait of a Film Shoot, in Brooklyn Heights.


Andy said...

Chess is a fun and challenging game. Robert is providing a great service to the kids. I like your photos Kitty. You give me a glimpse into your world in New York.

Marcia said...

I tried to learn to play chess yrs ago, but didn't have the patience, but I do love unique chess sets. When I was in London years ago we wandered into a small shop that sold nothing but chess sets and to this day I am ticked at myself for not purchasing the Alice in Wonderland inspired one.

Anyway great photos as usual.

Terry at Blue Kitchen said...

Very nice piece, Kitty! A cool person and an interesting shop. And if I understand correctly, it's not the only chess shop in New York--or in the Village, even.

Kitty said...

Thanks folks!!

Hi Andy,
Yes, I'd imagine few kids have the luxury of getting lessons in chess. But there are chess teams in school, which is great.

HI Marcia
Oh neat! I love cool sets, too. They can be so intricate and colorful, like tiny statues.

Thanks Terry!
There are still a handful of esoteric stores here, and on the same street, there is another chess store.

The game is enjoyed in this city but we haven't formed an official NY team yet, haha.

Banjo52 said...

I admire both the players and the chess sets, but I could never get beyond adequacy after the middle game. The concentration just wore me out, AND I don't have a mathematical mind, which i suspect is required.