Relationships created over one's chess career are probably a more important byproduct than the chess itself. Many of us OTB players have a friend or friends that we work with in analyzing games and with whom we travel and room with at tournaments. Your buddy is a sounding board that helps you prepare for that critical game the next round. For about five years Doug Southall and I went to the local major tournaments together. I know you can list many chess buddies who are regulars at tournaments.
Chess attracts intelligent people of all various types and backgrounds who are interesting and this adds to the experience of OTB. At the tournament we meet people and talk about a wide variety of things. Being a people person, I get great enjoyment from my chess comrades. And have learned many things about the world and the past based on their experiences.
I noticed in internet chess, especially the free chess game sites, many of my opponents are obnoxious. In fact I now play strictly on the ICC because people seem to be civil there. I think the fact you pay money for membership keeps out the riff raff.
The importance of this social component should not be underestimated as doctors and psychologists tell us that people who are part of a group and socialize tend be healthier and live longer. So I suggest that you invest in developing these chess relationships.
Being a member of a club also enhances this investment. Several years ago when the BCF had to leave the YWCA on Clarendon Street the fearful thought of no BCF flashed into my mind; the loss of the club to chess would have had a chilling effect. What would chess be like if the BCF were to disappear?
It takes people investing time and effort into these organizations to make them work. There are some volunteers, but never enough. Being a participating members makes the BCF and chess a better place. I give a great deal of credit to President Paul MacIntyre and the then board of directors who engineered a successful egress from Boston to Somerville. At that time there were no obvious answers about the future of the BCF, and with the help of many people, the BCF survived. Two other mainstays to the BCF are Bernado Iglesias and Robert Oresick who have contributed so much to the BCF.
What is your feeling about the social benefit of chess and chess buddies? How about experiences in OTB compared to internet chess? Is membership to a chess club beneficial?
Please Comment. 07/29/2008 Mike Griffin