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."
Different chess pieces line inhabit the motley storefront.
"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.
Starting August 20th, Magnus Carlsen, the Number 1 ranked chess player in the world, will be teaching summer camp at the store (!).
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.