MCC History / Raw Transcripts of Interviews(all conducted from Feb 2003 Ė April 2003)

 

Interviewer: Fred Harvey

 

Transcription: Mary Murphy / Harvey Reed

 

Copy Editor: Fred Harvey

 

 

CARL GARFIELD

 

Fred:
Hi Carl, my name is Fred Harvey and I am a member of the MetroWest Chess Club.

And what we are trying to do is to get a history of the club. Dated back to even before it was the MetroWest chess club.

Carl:
It was called the Square 64 chess club.

Fred:
And what date was that?

Carl:
It was in the late 50ís or early 60ís. I joined in 1962.

Fred:
Do you know Menno Koning?

Carl:
Oh yeah.

Fred:
He suggested I give you a call.

Carl:
Menno and I were in that club. I had still been running that club, having Saturday afternoon chess, here.  I would usually get about one or two chess players, sometimes a couple more than that.  It was doing badly until Fischer vs. Spassky started playing. We had 125 to 150 players during the time Fischer and Spassky were playing.

Fred:
Good Grief. And you met at your house?

Carl:
We met at the Legion Post, then we moved to the offices of Rush Winslow. Then I assumed the leadership of the club, and moved the club to my home.

Fred:
What year was that?

Carl:
That would be in 1969, or 1970. And we played in the basement of home. We played chess Tuesdayís and Saturdays.

Carlís Wife:
You only got one person to play sometimes.

Carl:
That person and I have been great friends for over 40 years.

Fred:
Who was that?

Carl:
Azi Boswand

Fred:
They have given me 8 questions to ask you. Letís see; when and where did you start to play chess? Was it a regular club, and if so, which one? I think you answered that.

Carl:
When I joined it was at the American Legion Post.

Fred:
So, you have not played at the MetroWest chess club. Have you?

Carl:
No, I have not. Do they meet Tuesdayís?

Fred:
Yes, they met Tuesday evenings. Well, there is a study group, which is free. That starts at 6:30pm. It is free. That is run by John Chamberlain. And then the games start at 7:30pm. And we have the place to ourselves until we lock it up, which could be 11:30pm.  We meet once a week. You are certainly welcome to come over.

Carl:
I will keep that in mind.

Fred:
Okay, letís see, they want to know why did you start playing at the club. Were there any interesting events that you remember, when you were at the club?

Carl:
We had some simuls, we had some rapid play, and we had a continuing change in the ladder as people moved up the ladder.

Fred:
You kept all the results.

Carl:
We filed them with the USCF.

Fred:
Uh huh. And these people who conducted the simuls, do you remember their names?

Carl:
Oh there was so many that got involved in it, and I was new to the group at that time.

Fred:
It is a good thing that was so many. Otherwise, you would not have had the funds to attract those people.

Carl:
Well, once Rush Winslow and I took over the operation together we dropped all dues and just ran a social group.

Fred:
What were the dues, before you did that?

Carl:
They were probably 35 to 36 bucks.

Fred:
A week? A month?

Carl:
A year, it was an annual membership.

Fred:
Letís see have you been playing continuously?

Carl:
I have played continuously since 1944.  My grandparents gave me a chess set in the summer of 1944. That was a birthday present in August. By November, I had acquired enough talent with the board to be on the Brookline High School Scholastic chess tournament.

Fred:
Good for you! That was kind of an obscure past time back in those days, wasnít it?

Carl:
No, it was not too much so, that was back in the World War II days. And I found that one of the best ways to learn to play chess was to teach it. I set up an organization in high school to teach both students and adults. We went with the American Theater group. Five sometimes six times a week, we went out to veteranís hospitals and such. And we did simultaneous chess, and sometimes played exhibitions.

Fred:
Good for you that is wonderful.

Carl:
I went out virtually every night, because I organized the damn thing.

Then when I graduated from Brookline (high school) in 1946, or 1947.

I went to Northeastern.  There was no collegiate chess at that time. My friend was vice President, and I was the President of the Northeastern Chess club. We organized the Boston University, BC, Suffolk Law, Tufts, Holy Cross, we hit Clark University.

Fred:
And all these universityís played each other in tournaments?

Carl:
Yes, on a regularly scheduled basis. Northeastern won the cup in the first year. I donít what happened to it after I left Northeastern. I think it continued for a couple of years, and then it sort of dissipated by the wayside. Nobody had the time to put into keeping it going, I guess.

Fred:
Who are the key people that you can remember? Were there any standouts?

Carl:
I remember a lot of people. There was Harvey Siletsky at BU. There was a fellow by the name of Dick Bean at Tufts.

Fred:
B E A N

Carl:
Yes.

Fred:
And Siletsky :  S I L E T S K Y

Carl:
Yep, and there were other people in there that I just donít remember.

Fred:
Who were the best players at the time you started? Do you recall any of their names?

Carl:
Yes, We had,  hummm; I will have to do some real thought about that.

Fred:
Okay

Carl:
We had a fellow by the name of Weill Ė W E I L L. He was from the Connecticut area. He was one of the fellows who was involved in, what we had at the time, mid 60ís. We had inter-city challenges.  I played on the greater Boston team.  And we were in radio contact. And we went to a couple of other cities at various times. We had chess matches. We would have as many as twenty boards at a time. That was a lot of fun.

Fred:
I bet it was.

Carl:
It took a long time; today with the computer you can do it so much faster.

Fred:
Sure.

Carl:
That was the old times. You would write your name down, and your board number, you move, and the radio contactor would submit your response.

Fred:
Now a day, it is email, which is just a matter of minutes.

Carl:
Less than that.

Fred:
Right. The last question they ask is; who else do you recommend that I contact for further information?

Carl:
Well, I donít know. When I was with the Shawmut bank, which was my last employer, Shawmut bank had an arrangement whereby we did not have enough chess players of caliber to play on a commercial league. So, we joined Fidelity. Fidelity had R E H M, he lived up in the Dedham area. He was a very good chess player. He played on the commercial league for Fidelity.

 We had another young fellow, who got some notoriety. He went a little berserk and shot a few people.

Fred:
That will do it.

Carl:
He was African American. Lonnie Gilbert. He went to a brokerage house. He was from a very successful family. He went to a brokerage house. He was under extreme pressure. I was a little afraid that the poor guy was going to bust. Because he was trying to live up to what he felt was the familyís desires. There were a couple of bank Vice Presidentís in that family. And he wanted to do as well.  He felt that people were getting in his way. That they were trying to keep him from making the grade.

Fred:
Oh, that is a shame. So, did he shot his supervisor?

Carl:
He shot his supervisor and one or two others. I donít know if I should renew acquaintances with him to see how he is doing. I did like him.

Fred:
Well, it might be a good idea to do that. At least you could get a chess game out of him.

So, that is all the questions that they had for me to ask. I hope to see you at the club sometime.

Carl:
I may drop by. I am politician now. I am a member of the Libertarian party. I ran for the State legislator in 2000.  To my surprise, not spending a single penny on bumper stickers and the like, I managed to get 840 odd votes.

Fred:
That is a respectful number.

Carl:
For the first time ever in politics, I would say that was very successful.

Fred:
I would too.

Carl:
Right in the middle of campaigning, I had a stroke.  I was in the hospital for a few days. But, I did not miss any of the debates. I was able to get a few points in: mainly that the Libertarians want to down size government, no question about it.

Fred:
Do you ever listen to the radio talk show, Jay Severine?

Carl:
Yes.

Fred:
You would enjoy him, he is on 3 to 7 on 96.9fm.  Are you ever looking for a game?

Carl:
Yes, whenever I can get one, I would love to have one.

 

(Recording ends- They may have been still talking)