Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Chess and Intelligent People

Chess and Intelligent People

Polymath From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: A polymath (Greek polymathēs, πολυμαθής, "having learned much") [1] is a person whose knowledge is not restricted to one subject area. The dictionary definition is consistent with informal use, whereby someone very knowledgeable is described as a polymath when the term is used as a noun, or polymath or polymathic when used as adjectives.

A couple of weeks ago at the $10 open I told a few of my chess buddies that my wife and I intended to fly out to California and visit my son Marc for Thanksgiving, who now lives in Berkeley. And that I intend to visit the chess club at Mechanics Institute [ some photos from the editor's trip to the Mechanics Institute [http://picasaweb.google.com/oresick/MechanicsInstituteChessClub# ] probably on Tuesday night, as that seems to be a very active evening. People reminded me that former locals Josh Friedel, Steven Brandwein, and Peter Sherwood were regulars at the San Francisco clubSomeone also tossed out the name Ken Rogoff as being somehow associated with the club. I knew Ken was a BCC player in the 70's and was associated with Harvard and economics so it didn't make sense.

Anyways I Googled Ken's name and hit on a great deal of information, including the fact that Ken is an economic adviser to presidential candidate John McCain.Then in a bit of Sienfeldian irony, who is on Jim Lehrer's NewsHour last Wednesday night none other than Ken Rogoff!? Ken did a convincing job in detailing the necessity to support the $700 Billion US economic bailout due to the current financial fiasco.

At the BCF this Saturday there was a Quad, and like any typical tournament there are all types of conversations going on in the skittles room. My good friend Tony Cortizas came by and he relayed to me that Ken Rogoff is avoiding getting back into chess, although a grandmaster, because Ken is fearful of all the time it would consume. As with most days the conversations reached far and wide bridging politics, law, photography, literature, art, history, and many other subjects.

The neat thing is that OTB chess at the BCF attracts some very bright and interesting people and it's a fantastic place to be just to exchange ideas. Nothing more adventuresome than a room packed with polymaths. There isn't a tournament that goes by that I don't leave with new ideas or a better understanding of something.

What are some of your experiences in interacting with chess players?

Please Comment.

Mike Griffin 10/07/2008


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