A Message in a Time of Unrest
June 8, 2020
Dear Members of the Marshall Chess Club
As I sit here writing this letter, I look out my window onto a stream of #BlackLivesMatter protestors marching across the Brooklyn Bridge. They are loud but orderly, impassioned yet restrained, ethnically diverse and nevertheless united. Now it has started to rain heavily—the protestors continue unabated and undeterred. Steadfastness on an unstable day. I am reaching out today on behalf of the Board of Governors to say The Marshall Chess Club supports this movement and asserts without hesitation or qualification that Black Lives Matter.
To say we live in precarious times has become a cliché over the past few months. Our city, our country, our world—all are in a state of unrest. You all undoubtedly have received earnest words of concern from your bank, your favorite online retailer, religious and cultural groups to which you belong. I hope this message does not get lost in the noise.
The fact is that the chess world is a tight-knit one. Our game, by dint of tradition, opposes black against white, but that is only to distinguish the two sides of a binary contest. In reality, chess is a sport that welcomes all who wish to join; the barrier to entry is quite low—just a board, 32 signifying pieces, and the will to engage in competitive (but peaceful) confrontation.
The Marshall Chess Club unequivocally denounces hate, rejects bigotry, refuses xenophobia, and denies the unjust. We uphold the rules of fairness and inclusion for our members and for anyone who passes through the doors of 23 W. 10th St (or, these days, whoever logs on to our website). Anyone who does not stand unequivocally against brutality at the hands of the police or who condones racist talk, thought, or belief is not welcome among us. The Club has a zero-tolerance policy with regard to any form of discrimination—racial, ethnic, religious, gender-based—online or otherwise.
I hope you will join with us to pledge to do better. To fight animosity, to combat institutionalized racism, to reverse asymmetrical privilege, to preempt kicking those who are already down. We can and we will emerge a finer, stronger, and more unified community—one of which we each can be proud to be a member.
(on behalf of the Marshall Chess Club Board of Governors)