Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Chess and Mass Transit: Inbound / Outbound

I was running late one day in April. I was on the MBTA train riding on the Red Line trying to rush to the Westin Hotel in Coply to meet up with some business friends to help start my new business.

In my haste at Downtown Crossing I got disoriented while getting on the Orange line. As everyone (from Boston) knows according to the MBTA the Down Town Crossing is the epicenter of the universe all tracks from this point of origin are labeled OUTBOUND. So while running with the rest of the passengers towards the rumbling of an approaching Orange line train, having only a fleeting second to glance at the wall noticing the signage OUTBOUND and feeling comfortable. But instead of arriving at MGH the train arrives at State Street where I realize OUTBOUND THE WRONG WAY.

I go up the stairway to reverse direction where I'm confronted with nothing but plywood walls and passageways with no signage. Which of the four passageways to pick? I'm at an impasse, when out of the fog steps Charlie Mays going home from work. This only happens in dreams right? I say Hi to Charlie and ask: How do I go INBOUND? And he says Mike you go thru that entrance there. Talk about good Karma. I catch the next train and arrive at the Westin a few minutes late like everyone else.

It's only when you spend some time in other US cities and their transit systems that you realize that the person who decided to base the major piece of informational feedback to travelers who use the T to be based on the person understanding where they stand in relation to the epicenter puts all visitors and sometimes even us Boston Urban Warrior types at a disadvantage. My Irish Great-grandfather John Power helped dig the Green Line by hand with pick and shovel. And it was someone of that era that said put INBOUND signs here and OUTBOUND signs here. But today people, especially visitors, may not understand relative to what. This must be changed, or better, superseded, in order inform people where the end of the line is for this particular train.

Now what does this essay have to do with chess besides my rants about the T? Well the BCF is highly dependent on mass transit. When the BCF decided to move to Davis Square the most important factor was that it was on a major T line. Previous discussion was about moving the BCF out of the T train network. And when the Great Flood disrupted the BCF players e-selected the use of the GO Club at Davis over other venues.

There is a BCF committee developing a strategy what the next location of the BCF might look like, and top priorities are transit and parking. BTW there is nothing definitive about moving -- it’s just that the board doesn’t want’ to react out of crisis but out of wisdom. So it looks like the BCF is wedded to the T and it's INBOUND and OUTBOUND mysteries.

What are your Transit/Chess Stories?
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Thank You

Mike Griffin

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