My 9-year-old son Jamie is obsessed with chess. I taught him a few basic moves at 5, and then he went on to chess club, summer camp and now, tournaments. All that formal training made him a competent player, but didn’t teach him the strategy and anticipation so vital to winning. Those things he learned from a bunch of chess hustlers in Washington Square.
Jamie’s residency in the West Village’s scrappy chess scene began about a year ago, when he asked if he could play a game with the guys one day on our way home from school. He sat down gamely in front of Dwight, a soft-spoken man in a Seventh Day Adventist windbreaker. Dwight waited half way through the game before he started coaching Jamie. His two pieces of advice: don’t move the queen out too early and keep control of the center. Jamie pocketed the advice, gave Dwight “a donation” and was immediately hooked. Read More