Monday, February 28, 2005

Chess in Los Angeles

Back in 1997, I was living in Boston but commuting to Los Angeles every week for work. Fairly crazy I know, but as a result I still have a gaggle of frequent flyer miles to use. Anyway, while in L.A. I had a hard time finding out where the chess clubs were. This article would have been of enormous help:
The Santa Monica Bay Chess Club begins its eight-round club championship Monday in Joslyn Park, 633 Kensington Road in Santa Monica. Call Pete Savino at (310) 827-2789 for more information....

For more information about the Arcadia Chess Club, which meets Monday evenings in the Senior Citizens building, 405 S. Santa Anita Ave. in Arcadia, call Fred Brock at (626) 331-1638....

The Pasadena Chess Club runs tournaments at 6:30 p.m. Fridays in Throop Memorial Church, 300 S. Los Robles Ave. in Pasadena.... Call Raymond Boncato at (626) 568-0431 or Randy Hough at (626) 282-7412 for information....

The Exposition Park Chess Club's free monthly tournament will be held next Sunday in the public library, 3665 S. Vermont Ave. in Los Angeles.

The Rialto Chess Club has lost its playing site. To find out the new location, call Dec Cuerdon at (909) 641-4337.
I finally found a place called the Chess Palace and played in a couple of tournaments there. Here's what I wrote about the place in Chess Horizons:
Los Angeles

Well, Los Alamitos to be more accurate, though the initials are the same. The Chess Palace is a rather optimistic moniker for this storefront in a strip mall on Katella Avenue. This palace is small -- the tournament room is the skittles room is the bookstore. This is generally not a problem except when the phone keeps ringing in the middle of the round. Like the Manhattan Club [note: In 1997-98 the Manhattan Chess Club was still in existence on W. 46th St. between 8th and 9th Avenues], the Chess Palace has a bit of a business feel to it. If you forget a pen, you can buy one for $.50; pencils are a bargain at $.25 but fortunately scoresheets are still free. At these prices, it doesn't look like Charles Rostedt, the proprietor and good friend of chess, will be moving to Beverly Hills anytime soon.

So how is it that someone finds out where to play chess in an unfamiliar city? Listen carefully chess club marketers -- the TLA's in Chess Life. While I had heard that their might be a club in Santa Monica and/or Pasadena (which would have been much closer to where I was staying) I couldn't find any tournaments listed in the magazine. On the other hand, about half the listings in Southern California section are for the Chess Palace.

The Chess Palace Wednesday Knights is played not surprisingly on Wednesday nights, with the number of rounds determined by the number of Wednesdays in the month. Unlike most of the other clubs I've played in, the competition here was not as strong -- both months I played, I was either the highest or second-highest rated player in the tournament....

"Nightclubbing - Our man goes forth from Boston, looking for new worlds to conquer" Chess Horizons, July/August 1998
Check out their website for an update on what's been going on at the Chess Palace since I was there.

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