Miro Reverby’s “Men Who Would Be Kings”

Washington Square Park seems a world away, but it’s actually very close. It’s so close that you can feel the joy and pain… the joy and pain of chessplayers who lose themselves in the royal game. Miro Reverby’s film titled, “Men Who Would Be Kings” is a poignant account of life in one of the most famous chess venues in the world. Many giants have passed through here including Bobby Fischer, Garry Kasparov, Hikaru Nakamura, Roman Dzindzichashvili and many others.

Vinny Livermore

The late Vinny Livermore, Washington Square Park legend

Other players who have graced the park scene are not famous in the international chess world, but they are stars in their own right… Vinnie Livermore, Russian Paul, ‘The Ralph’, Theo, ‘Doctor Woo’, Tony Springer, ‘Preacher Mike’. All these characters have an interesting side story. Also featured in these videos are the players in the recent “Street Master” match, Po and Sammy.

Jimmy Jam Jones, originally from Puerto Rico, goes through all the personalities in Washington Square Park in an interesting narrative style and captures the passion of street chess. The simplicity of the narration is probably the strongest point. It allows you to sit back and enjoy the nostalgia!

“MEN WHO WOULD BE KINGS”
by NM Miro Reverby

CAUTION: CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

4 Comments

  1. Miro did an excellent job filming this. Riverbeast! Though I did not play chess, Miro was my boyfriend, and I got to know most of the family Jimmy talks about. Great guys. I was a sort of low maintenance girlfriend, but every now and then I wanted to go out, and we were always low on money at that age. Miro would hustle a little chess and then we were good for the night!

    These years in NYC were the BEST!

  2. This is the most interesting video document I have ever found on the subject. I regularly come back to look at him, fantasizing about what it was like to be living in NY at that time, playing chess. The players in this video are part of the history of street chess, and I’d like more material about them. Do you know if there are books on the New York chess scene of that period? And other video documents? I’d like to know more about players like Livermore and Russian Paul. I’m not in America, but if anyone had the chance, interview Russian Paul and get details, stories and anecdotes about the golden age of Washington Square Park!
    Thanks to “The Chess Drum”.

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