Jul 30, 2012

Chess Table Project

Image: instructables
The 2012 Olympics are in full swing and I can't help but wonder why chess is not included?

They say chess is the sport for the mind but what qualifies a sport to be in the Olympics?

Between 1984 and 1992, Solo Synchronized Swimming was a sport at the Games.
Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't solo synchronized swimming an oxymoron?

A number of other weird and wonderful events have come and gone over the years which have included The Tug of War, Pistol Duelling, 100m Freestyle for Sailors, Croquet, Long Jump for Horses and in what would surely be a fan favourite in our house if it were to return - Olympic Tumbling.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of World Chess Federation, has campaigned for years to get chess included and has even introduced drug testing in an attempt to comply with the necessary regulations for entry. Many would say that chess is just a game, not a sport and should not be included for that reason alone.  However, technically, the International Olympic Committee recognize chess as a sport.

My first introduction to chess was in primary school, in my final year.
Our teacher had decided to get us involved in a big class project and I think if he had walked into the class and told us "You're all going to learn chess" we probably would have all groaned as the only thing we were interested in at time was The Karate Kid, which had come out the previous year.
Instead, he brought in an old beat-up wooden table in need of serious repair. The legs were unstable, the wood was chipped and weathered and on the table top there seemed to be a very faint design, which was probably a hair's breath from disappearing. "We're all going to restore this chess table" he said.
Immediately, we all had visions of "wax on, wax off, don't forget to breath" and we couldn't wait to start. The faded design, of course was the chess board and those of us who were not sanding or repairing were learning how to play the game for a grand tournament once the table was finished. To this day, he remains my favourite teacher from school.

This particular project, courtesy of instructables doesn't require any old wooden tables or even any furniture restoration knowledge for that matter.

All you need is:
1. A sturdy cardboard box (approx 60cm width x 20cm height)
2. Thick black and thick white paper. Enough paper to cut 32 (5cm x 5cm) squares of each color.
3. A square (40cm) Plexiglas sheet. You should be able to find this in a craft shop or DIY store.
4. A square (40cm) of thin cardboard.
5. PVA Glue
6. Newspapers
7. Black paint (or spray paint)
8. Gloss spray or lacquer (pick this up in a DIY store or craft shop)

Jump over to instructables for a full set of step by step instructions including photos.

Once you have your table made, you'll need some pieces.

How about this set of Hardware Store Chess Pieces by Julia Suits

Image: Make Magazine
 Or these pieces made from rolled up paper, courtesy of paper, plate and plane.

Image: paper, plate and plane
For now though, as far as the Olympics are concerned, it feels like it might be checkmate for chess.
(I know. I'm sorry. That's bad but I couldn't help myself)


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