The Amateur Eye – Chess Coloring Landscape

My first chess set I ever saw was a small ash and turquoise-ash set of 2/12 inch kings on a small wood checkerboard.  It became my instructional set.  When I was 10 or so my mom took me to the Rochester Chess & Checker Club to meet my brother Ray who was playing a city team chess match between Buffalo and Rochester.  Ray had bought a number of very beautiful chess sets which he kept in his locked desk cabinet.  So seeing the regular tournament sets in play was new to me.  By then I was making pretty good change picking cherries, strawberries, apples and peaches on our farm so, you guessed it, one of my first major purchases was a really nifty chess set and wood board having 2-3/4 inch squares.

Growing up I got active in the Rochester Chess Club made up largely of adults because of the high membership fee. As I said I was 10 when mom took me to the club.  I was really fascinated meeting such chess personages as Rev. Dr. George Switzer who welcomed all new-comers. Why didn’t the club have a youth program which would attract many into chess?  When I eventually joined, a student at Eastman School of Music, Marcy Shupp was editing a club newsletter and made me his assistant. As I recall Don Sullivan, Dr. Marchand, Dr. Herzberger, Shupp, Candee, Weig, Rosenstein, Rosenthal, Pat Eberlein  among others who supported chess in those days encouraged me as well as Dr. Marchand and Rev. Switzer to get active in developing a chess program.  I was made club treasurer and that is a story I already told.

The RCC was started in the late 1800s with about 50 adults.  They dressed in grey suits and ties.  Club matches were largely with the Buffalo Chess Club. This is my limited knowledge of early chess club life in this region of NY State.

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