Precita Valley CHESS HERALD
Vol. 2, No. 10, October 1957


MECHANICS' INSTITUTE IS THE BUSIEST CHESS CLUB right now with the City Championship battles going on. It seems more games are played there than anyplace. And why not? Afterall, it is just about the best equipped club besides being open most of the time. It goes like this, "Hello, Joe Doakes? Well, this is John Doe and I think I have a game to play with you. Well, Mechanics' is open all day, -- what time do you want to meet me?" That's about the story. So, may we salute Mr. Arthur B. Stamer who has had his hands full but manages to keep everybody happy just the same!

We do not wish to take anything away from the other clubs in the Bay Area, but we cannot help but point out the convenience at Mechanics' Institute, or as Charles Bagby always says, "Everybody should belong to the parent club, regardless of what other club he belongs to, since it is open most of the time--, and one can always get into a game of chess". Indeed, M.I. is the parent club--, as a matter of fact, the granddaddy of them all! Not only that, but did you know it has the best library in town? Yes, it even has the public library taking a back seat! If you don't believe me, ask my wife. Better still, join M.I. and find out for yourself!

Poor Mr. Richard Plock--, he spends hours grooming his mustache, only to run into a misunderstanding character now and then. There are some who first meet him that have the doggonedest time trying to hold back a burst of laughter. Then, there are those who outrightly remark, "Say, Mr. Plock, what is that thing on your face?!". That's okay, Mr. Plock, I understand myself, because I can remember when they had handlebars on other places than bicycles…

The kibitzers are having their glory these days. The huddles are quite numerous. Anyhow, there are two players at a board staring for all they are worth over some sixty-four squares. One has Black and one has White. The game may be in the opening, or the middle, or even at the end. One player makes a move, as a few lookers-on gasp. Then one of the spectators beckons his finger at another and within a few seconds there is a huddle. Once in awhile a head pops up from the huddle and glances at the board. So the poor guy with the move is sweating out the time and wonders what those guys in the huddle see. It must be good, but what is it? The huddle breaks and gathers around the board again. The guy with the move is still wondering what they see but doesn't dare ask. His time is running out so he makes a move and immediately after the huddle forms again. Guess I blundered, the player thinks or there must have been something better. I must be a poor player, he decides, for I've been looking for fifteen minutes for a good move and they merely glanced at the board and saw something. But, alas, in a couple of moves his opponent resigns so he has played it correctly afterall! Oh yeah--, that's what you think! The huddlers (or kibitzers) go to work on the loser showing him he had you dead to rights. Now why didn't he make this move and that move and this other move? So, you see, you didn't move correctly after all even though you won the game! It was the other guy, see, he just didn't make the right moves. It was him they were talking about all the time, not you. Shucks, mister, go home! You don't know how to play chess--, it's just the other guy always should have won. Sure, you got a point but, brother, were you lucky!! But, don't let it worry you, friend, the kibitzers need you--, or what would they do if it wasn't for you who should have lost??!!

Then there was a certain night at the Precita Valley Chess Club when a youngster (and a new member) decided to challenge one of the seasoned veterans. It was a rip-snortin' game and the veteran finally settled matters by saying with a voice of authority, "Mate!". The youngster looked and sure enough he was mated, but upon glancing over the board, snarled, "How come you can mate me when you even haven't got your King on the board?!" Hey, what's this?? "Shucks," adds the youngster, "I won your King with a Pawn way back in the opening!"!!! ……………………………………………………

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