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

 

 

MENNO KONING

 

Fred:

Hi Menno

Menno:

Yes

Fred:

This is Fred Harvey from the chess club.

Menno:

Hi Fred, how are you?

Fred:

Okay, if this is a good time, I wanted to go down memory lane with you.

Menno:

Okay, what is this, my wife answered. What did you say?

Fred:

I said if this is a good time, I wanted to ask what you remember about the early days.

Menno: Go ahead; tell me what you want to tell me.

Fred:

Well, we have about 8 questions that we wanted to ask you.

Menno:

Okay, well the answer is Ďyesí on all eight of them.

Fred:

Okay, thank you very much and I will see you at the club next Tuesday.

<They both laugh.>

Menno: So, tell me.

Fred:

When and where did you start to play chess? Was it at a regular club? Is so, which one?

Menno:

Oh, I started playing chess in the Netherlands at chess club in the northern part of Holland.  A chess club that was called G R O N I N G E N

Fred:

Okay, they might not be as quite as much interested in that, as they are in a local club.

Menno:

All right, well, I did not play officially in many. I went to the Boylston.

Fred

The Boylston?

Menno:

The club that used to play in the Y W C A

Fred:

The Boylson? The Boylston club? The Boylston chess club. I guess that is the oldest.

Menno:

Yes, that is it. I played there a few times.

Fred:

How far back is that, about what year?

Menno:

Let me think, possibly 1960 something. I donít know.

Fred:

When did you start playing at the Framingham club or the MetroWest chess club?

Menno:

From the beginning.

Fred:

Which was when?

Menno:

I donít know, there was a couple of get togethers, so to speak. We were playing at a Framingham computer company, down on Waverly Street.  Have you got the name of Carl Garfield?

Fred:

You know, I think somebody gave me that name.

Menno:

You better call him, he started. I think I have his number.

Fred:

Oh good.

Menno: 

His number is  <>.

Fred: <>

Menno:

The way the MetroWest chess club started. By the way, I gave it that name.

Fred:

You did, oh good for you.

Menno:

They were looking for a name. I suggested the MetroWest chess club because it would not tie it into any town, or anything like that.

Fred:

That was a good thought.

Menno:

We were playing at various places at the time. There was a little get together at a lady in Wellesley, her name was Livingston. Oh, about half a dozen of us got together.

Fred:

How did you get together? Did you know each other?

Menno:

Well, it was sort of like a social event.

Fred:

It was just by chance that you found that you had chess in common. Is that what you mean?

Menno:

Yeah, She was a rich lady, a widow, and her house was in Wellesley. Maybe 6 to 8 people used to get together over there. And then we had a club that Carl Garfield was very active in. That club was called Square 64. Square 64 was the official name.

We played in the Waverly Street, in Framingham, at a computer company there. Carl would remember it.

Fred:

He does not play at all at our club.

Menno:

He never played at the MetroWest chess club. But, I am talking about the prior history of the chess club.

Fred:

Okay

Menno:

And then we had a little club, which I started here in Dover at the library. This was all prior to the MetroWest chess club.

Fred:

Yes, good. That is what they are looking for, they can fill in all the details of the MetroWest chess club, they are looking for what happened before.

Menno:

Yes, right, so, we played a few time here in the Dover library.  And then there was a fellow by the name of Mark Bond, B O N D.

Fred:

Mark Bond.

Menno:

And he said that he was going to organize a club in Framingham and that we would meet at the Beech Street. It was not called the MetroWest chess club; it was called the Framingham chess club. Then we went to a terrible place.

Fred:

In what way terrible Ė bad lighting?

Menno:

Oh you know, bad lighting, The rooms were bad.

Fred:

How long did that last?

Menno: 

Let me see, who played there?  It was going. I am trying to remember the name of the President of the club now.

Fred:

Mark Kaprielian.

Menno:

Yes, he was there, he would know about that.

(***?) And then Al Ward found this location at the Natick Senior Center. From there it was up hill all the way. We had a fellow that was leading it, Warren Pinches.

Fred:

Warren, yes, I remember hearing about him. I have been trying to reach him.

Menno:

Well, Warren did a tremendously good job running the club for a while.  And then he disappeared. I donít know what became of him.

Fred:

I am trying to call him. I know his number. I have tried several times to call. I get an answering machine and nothing else. I think Harvey Reed tried to call him. But, he did not get a very friendly reception.

Menno:

Oh, I donít know what happened. He came, he did a great job, and then he disappeared. He sounded a little bitter. And then Mark took over. Of course, Mark has done a superb job. We had only about 20 people going, now we have about 80.

Fred:

Yes

Menno:

Letís see, I donít the dates on that.

Fred:

Oh, I donít expect that if you can give me even a rough estimate.

When did you start at the Framingham or Metro West chess club? You started at the very beginning.

Menno:

Right from the beginning.

Fred:

Then it asks Ė what did you like about it. Were there any interesting events that stand out?

Menno:

Oh yeah, we had some great simuls. I remember the one with Reshevsky. He gave a simulcasts and some others. It was great.

Fred:

How did they manage to get them?

Menno:

You buy them, you pay money, you call them up. John Curdo has done a few as well.

Fred:

I should be talking to him pretty soon too.

Letís see, they want to know. Have you been playing continuously?

Menno:

Yes.

Fred:

You have?

Menno:

I am probably the only one that has been playing continuously at the club right from the beginning.

Fred:

Thatís you.

Menno:

That is me.

Fred:

Okay, Who are the key people? The ones that you can remember that kept things going?

Well, I think you already answered that.

Menno:

Mark Kaprielian.

Fred:

At the time that you started playing, who were the best players? Do you remember?

Menno:

The best players Ė Alex Sadowski. He disappeared he went to Florida. I really donít remember.

Fred:

Okay, the last question. We are at the last question. Who else do you recommend that I interview for further information. And do you have any contact information. You already game me Carl Garfield.

Menno:

Well Carl Garfield will have good information. We played at his house for a while. We played about 3 or 4 locations, as the Framingham chess club. That ultimately became the MetroWest chess club.

Fred:

I think that they would be interested in knowing where those locations were.

Menno:

Okay, one was at Carl Garfieldís house.

Fred:

At his house in Framingham.

Menno:

Yes.

Fred:

The other was at the wealthy widowís house. .

Menno:

That lady is not living anymore in Wellesley. The other was at the Square 64 chess club on Waverly Street in Framingham, at Computer Company. Carl Garfield would know more about that. It was a computer company, and the fellow that owned the computer company allowed us to play there.

Fred:

He kept it open in the evenings for you?

Menno:

Yes, we played in the evenings.

Fred:

Good, One night a week?

Menno:

Yes.

Fred:

Well, that is great Menno. If you can think of anything else.

Menno:

What is this about. Do you want to write a history book or something?

Fred:

Well, they want to develop a history, an early history. Just for the interest. Just for general interest for all the members.

Menno:

When did the club start? What is the official date that the club was started?

Fred:

Well, I would ask that question of you. You were in right from the beginning.

Menno:

You see, I donít remember. I remember, Mark Wolf calling me.

Fred:

Do you mean it was the MetroWest chess club?

Menno:

No, no, before that. It was called the Framingham chess club. I mean it was not called anything at the time. We started it was just a chess club playing on Beach Street; there was a V F W.

Fred:

That was what in the late 50ís, 60ís?

Menno:

I donít know the dates.  How long ago was that, 20 years ago or something.

Fred:

Maybe you can remember by how old you were at the time. That is how I remember, some things.

Menno:

I donít know.

Fred:

Okay, well you have been a great help. If you think of anything else, any events that you could have included, well, I will see you Tuesday.

Menno:

Well, ask me, and if I know, I will give you the answer.