Sarah's Chess Journal

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         The History and The Culture of Chess

Bipolarity and other things
February 08, 2004

I'm bipolar.

If you don't know what that is, look it up and educate yourself.

The term itself indicates extremities or opposite poles. I think chess is a bit bipolar. It tends to attract people who are more extreme, one way or the other.

Some of the strangest, most iracible, most obnoxious, self-centered and antisocial people are chess players. Then again, some of the nicest, kindest and most generous people are chess players. Of course, there's the middle ground, but I think the extremes encompass a larger area than one might find in other groups. Nothing scientific here, just my perception.

What led me to this train of thought was a search I was doing on the unofficial and official U.S. chess champions.

I first went to the most natural of places - USCF. I nosed around there for a while and never found anything indicative of U.S. chess history. Well, if the main U.S. chess organization doesn't care about U.S. chess history, then who does?

Aha! My next bright idea was to go to the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame! There I found it inconsistanly refers to itself as the World Chess Hall of Fame & Sidney Samole Chess Museum in one place and the World & U.S. Chess Hall of Fame & Sidney Samole Museum in another place.

Under U.S. Inductees, it lists 34 players, only 3 (Morphy, Steinitz and George Mackenzie ) from, predominately, the 19th century and 1 (Ben Franklin) from the 18th century. Of these, it then gives a teeny-tiny bio of 25 of these players.

There's also a link called US Chess History. There I found 11 articles by Robert John McCrary, 1 by his wife, Kay, and 2 by Ray Alexis.

They were all good articles, but not what I would expect from the HALL OF freakin' FAME. If it's a matter of money... here's where I started thinking of bipolarity....with all the publicity chess gets about it's characters, like Fischer, there are so many chess nuts who are so generous with their time and knowledge who would gladly offer their services to make these two places the premier U.S. chess history sites.

But these two places don't seem too concerned.

I have to wonder what exactly does concern them?

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