Saturday, November 29, 2008

Chess and San Francisco

Chess & San Francisco

Greetings from San Francisco: my wife Pat and I spent the last week / Thanksgiving with my son Marc who now lives in Berkeley. Urban warriors will love SF and should familiarize themselves with mass transit and the myriad of options that seem to congregate on Market Street.

Old hippies like myself will enjoy the bohemian #71 bus that goes through Haight Ashbury on it’s way to Golden Gate Park.

On Market, two Muni stops up from the Embarcadero is a quick walk into #57 Post Street to Mechanics Institute where their wonderful chess club resides, containing three large rooms plus a director’s office. On 11/25/20087 I arrived at 6pm to see their 12 round Tuesday night swiss begin round 10.

Former BCF president Peter Sherwood hustled in approximately 6:20 and we spoke for a few minutes before the round began. Peter now lives in Oakland, is working as a programmer, and is happy here. He asked how the BCF was doing. He mentioned that the Berkeley School of Chess sponsors a Friday night tournament. People at the club mentioned that Steve Brandywine (a former BCF member- one of the best blitz players around) holds open house at the Institute most weekday afternoons.

For those who like outdoor chess, and what that entails, you want to go to “The Slab”: a mini park around the 900’s on Market street, near Powell. This has the flavor like Cambridge’s A Bon Pan, is not as climatically challenged, so play can go into the wee hours of the evening.
Although we rented a car, I would have to say that the ambiance soaked in while using mass transit was more enjoyable. You can get 1 day, 3day, or a week’s Muni pass or pay $1.50 for most fares (with free transfer). Recommended rides to take: Cable Car Hyde/Powell Street (either way), the antique trolleys of the F line(too and from the Embarcadero/Fisherman’s Wharf to deep on Market), and the before mentioned #71 bus thru hippy heaven.

In SF you can see the Spanish influence as many things are bilingual: example when arriving at the Embarcadero (place for debarkation) the antique Italian trolley flashes the message “ uscita fermata prenotata’. Many of the former T Green Line trolleys now roll along the F line (once called “Dallas Cars- as they were purchased by Boston from Dallas in the 20’s, and now having a third life).

I would highly recommend you all visit this cosmopolitan city, steeped in chess, it’s like Boston with hills.

What are some of your experiences and recommendations when visiting the San Francisco area.

Please Comment.
[I visited the Mechanics Instititue in 2006. It is a wonderful
club and they have no rent to worry about. bob oresick]

Mike Griffin 11/28/2008

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