Chess: Refuge in Tough Times

The chess scene at 16th Street Mall in Denver. Photo by Wally Gobetz.

This story has been told many times from coast-to-coast. New stories covering chess playgrounds in major cities have occurred for decades… even in controversy. Recently another story about the adage, “chess is life” reports a story in Denver, Colorado where the homeless have taken refuge to sooth their frustrations through chess.

Set at what one man calls the cornstone of Denver, the upscale 16th Street Mall serves that the ironic place for the homeless to lament on their condition. One man gives the analogy of chess men being workers in the economy. “You need me here. Instead, I’m unemployed,” taking a pawn off the board for emphasis.

The analogy of people playing their lives out over the chessboard is not a new thought. Some of the most famous chess venues have their legendary figures who speak of hard-scrabble lives and rough times. There is something about chess that serves as a refuge and perhaps a way to figure out the game of life.

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.

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  1. Pingback: The Chess Drum » Blog Archive » Chess: Refuge in Tough Times | Chess IQ

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