When we first started Endgame, I had pretty huge expectations. I truly believe in my heart of hearts that we have created the best chess t-shirts the world has ever seen. Would I call these shirts historic? Well, that's really something for the academics to work out, but one guy did say that Fischer probably would not have quit chess if he had shirts like these.
So I figured that when the chess t-shirts were first released, I would be immediately hoisted upon the shoulders of Grandmasters and paraded through hallowed tournament halls...I would grace the covers of chess periodicals...I would be celebrated by having openings named after me. I might even be invited to do that ceremonial moving of the first piece in the upcoming World Championship match.
Well, none of that stuff happened.
But there has been a lot of good and some bad.
Let's start off with some of The Good...
1. Meeting Top Players. As a fanboy, one of the amazing things about chess, is that many of our heroes are very accessible...you don't have to get through a huge entourage to say "hi." Normally I am just a jackass from the lower section...but now I am a jackass with some chess t-shirts. Recognize! And I am very happy to say that most of the titled players that I have approached have been very receptive and supportive.
2. Artists. I have always loved art. As a kid I was always a huge fan of comic books and animation. T-shirt design has been an exciting way to work with amazing artists who are able to do things in computer graphic design that I never knew existed. I really enjoy the process of watching a rough concept for a design turn into the finished polished product. I'll probably write more about this in the future as several people have asked about it.
3. Models. I have always loved models. Especially female ones! This part was tough. Like everything else with Endgame, I have an idea in my head as to how everything works out. With a shirt design, we can always tweak until we get it right. But with models, you first have to find the right one and then they have to agree to work with you. My male model, Dan, was easy to find. I work with him and he cracks me up...done deal. Trying to find the female model was much more difficult. Not only does she need to look right for the part, but did I mention that we are modeling chess t-shirts? Not exactly the high fashion that most models dream of. So I searched and searched. Most would never respond or follow through. There was one model who agreed, but every time I tried to coordinate a photo shoot, she was busy. Then I found Jazmin. End of story...she's perfect and I feel very lucky that she seems to really enjoy being involved.
4. Worldwide Web. I think this Internet thing will be around for a while. It makes work very convenient. The Internet has been criticized for turning us into an anonymous society with increasingly less human contact, but I'm hear to say that it has restored some of my faith in humanity. Every day, I deal with wonderful, passionate people...who I have never met face to face. We transmit ideas and money on a daily basis and, almost without exception, people do the right thing. Good job humanity!
5. Endgame Customers. Without a doubt, this is the best part. I never lose sight of the fact people have found Endgame and then made the conscious decision to wear a chess t-shirt. Wearing a chess shirt is both a committment and a statement. One guy said it is pretty much like putting a big middle finger on your chest. It is one thing to be a fan of chess and to play in the safe confines of a club or behind an Internet connection. It is quite another thing to put on a shirt and strut your stuff in public. Anyone can wear Quiksilver or Volcom, but it takes balls to rock a chess shirt. Thank you to everyone.