Beyond the Mississippi - III

American Chess Bulletin Vol. 9, No. 10 October, 1912

In Orange Land
A two-days' ride through the sultry wastes of the Utah and Mojave deserts brings the traveler to San Bernardino, Cal., the gateway to the broad and beautiful valley of the Santa Ana, which, flanked by purple mountains, stretches backwards some sixty miles to the eastward of Los Angeles. At the head of the valley is Redlands and near by are San Bernardino, Colton and Riverside. These towns are in the heart of the orange country, and, with their setting of semi-tropic beauty, comprise the fairest region to be found in all America. How sudden and wonderful the change from the arid desert!

At the Y. M. C. A. in Redlands I found a lively bunch of chess brothers, a number of whom play by correspondence, and every winter carry on a lively tourney. The leading spirits are S. W. Myers, T. Asher, T. W. Barney, H. Limberger and a number of others. Several of these gentlemen play strong chess for amateurs, and any prowling "injun" who essays to annex the local scalps is likely to be disappointed, and, if he doesn't play a foxy game, will leave his own top-knot to adorn the Redland ridge-pole. The disciple of Caissa, who visits the orange country, should not overlook Redlands.

Although chess has strayed far from its tropical birthplace, and has even flourished under such forbidding skies as those of Iceland, Scotland and Norway, it yet seems most at home when the days are long and dreary, and the amethyst skies, and the odors of the lotus and the magnolia conduce to calmness and mystic conceptions. It has been my experience that you will found more chess players to the acre down in Dixie than you will anywhere up North. In the good old days "befo' de wah," when our Southern cousins had not begun to take on the ways of the hustling Yankee, it was a rare thing to find a Southern gentleman who could not play chess.

It should, therefore, not be surprising that the chess spirit is very much alive and growing rapidly in semi-tropical Southern California. In Los Angeles there are three flourishing chess centers, and San Diego also has an enthusiastic club. The leading organization of the larger city is the "Southern California Chess and Checkers Club," which has commodious quarters in the Higgins Building. This club has sixty members, most of whom play chess. Dr. E. B. Graham is President, and the very efficient and enthusiastic secretary is Mr. Chas. E. Richardson. The strong chess players are Dr. R. B. Griffith, Mr. E. R. Perry, who is the City Librarian, Messrs. C. W. and W. S. Waterman (father and son), S. W. Peterson and O. Barnett. Dr. Griffith plays but little, but ten or twelve years ago, as champion of the U. of P. team, he won distinction at Philadelphia, where he was known as a powerful young player at the Franklin Club. Mr. Perry was also a college player, at Harvard, and is well known, I believe, in New York.

Mr. C. F. Pierce, special writer on the Los Angeles Times, is the leading exponent of the game at the Y. M. C. A. Club. He has for many years been identified with chess in Los Angeles and is the winner of a number of tourneys. There is a strong and enthusiastic organization at the Y. M. C. A. and players may be found almost any afternoon in the gallery above the lobby on the main floor.

At the magnificent new home of the Athletic Club on Seventh Street, there are a number of players of considerable strength.

The "Southern California" at Los Angeles and the Club at San Diego are at present conducting four simultaneous consultation games be correspondence. A Rev. Mr. Adams, at one time chess captain at Yale, is reported to be the strongest player at San Diego.

I found the Los Angeles players especially enthusiastic and hospitable, and visiting players are always given a hearty welcome at any of the clubs.

Knight Errant.

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