A Master and a Gentleman - James Black, Jr.

A Master and a Gentleman - James Black, Jr.

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After church at Emmanuel last Sunday, I walked into Fulton Park with a winning spirit.  This was my very first time there.  Fulton Park in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York is a well-known place where serious chessers come to demonstrate their tenacity on the board.  I walked over to a huddle of chess players to greet my friend Sean and there was James Black, Jr. demolishing his opponent.  His style was tough and aggressive—rapidly and impetuously capturing his opponent's piece and placing his piece in one swift move.

A man, who I'll affectionately call "The Referee," told me to sit down and play.  Armed with my pink board, Saitek Competition Pro Game Clock III, and fancy tournament weighted pieces, I was very ready to play—but not James Black, Jr.!    When I winced at the thought of playing James, Ref started to suggest that I was being a punk.  I was nervous, but I ain't no punk; so before ridiculing myself further with trepidation, I plopped down across from this twelve-year-old master to begin what felt like a hazing into this camaraderie of chess players. 

Look. . . . I witnessed the demise of James' last opponent.   The  fierce and intimidating way he moves his pieces did make me feel a bit apprehensive.  After I sat down he was warm and welcoming, and as we began to play, his moves were swift, light, and airy.  He very gently placed each piece; adjusting his style in a chivalric manner.  Unlike the battle with his previous opponent, his face softened into a pleasant mindfulness over the game.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is where the chivalry ended.  Don't ask who won. #   

Read more about James in the following Daily News artlice

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