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kottke.org posts about Anne Kadet

Life Advice from NYC Chess Hustlers

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 11, 2022

Anne Kadet interviewed some chess hustlers in Washington Square Park about their chess work in the park and what they've learned about life playing chess.

If you want a game, I say one game, five dollars, five minutes. So we play a five-minute game for five dollars. If you said you don't want no clock, I might say I give you one game, $10, because without the clock, it's longer. You're wasting time.

Some people say $5 to the winner. That means, we play each other and whoever wins gets the $5. That's tricky, because I don't know how strong you are. You might beat me and I lose $5. I've wasted time AND I've lost money! So I'm one of those people who don't say $5 to the winner.

I'll give you a lesson, a half hour for $20. I have some children that come just to see me once a week and I give them a lesson — $20 for a half hour. And there's a lot of NYU students that come by, we give them a discount for being students. One hour for 40 bucks.

Marcel A. offered this advice that applies to nearly any situation:

The one thing I tell my students is that when you get to a confrontation of any type, you have to remain calm. When you remain calm, you can see the board a lot clearer. You can see the person you're playing or arguing with a lot more clearly, for who and what they are. So you don't even have to entertain that shit. You understand?

Nathaniel W. shares what he's learned about people:

They timid, they're not willing to take a chance. See this? [He moves a pawn forward one space.] That means sometimes people don't want to be hurt. They have a fear of losing.

And E.G.G.S. offers perhaps the wisest advice of all:

I'm stuck right now. I can't give any life advice.

The whole thing is worth a read.

See also The Last Chess Shop in NYC. (via fave 5)