Toyota Field hosts statewide chess tournament

Chess players of all ages and skill levels competed in the statewide chess tournament sponsored by the Alabama Chess Federation.
Published: Sep. 3, 2023 at 5:43 PM CDT
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MADISON Ala. (WAFF) - Chess players of all ages and skill levels have been in Madison this weekend for the statewide chess tournament sponsored by the Alabama Chess Federation. Toyota Field has been hosting the games since Friday.

“Anybody who wants to play, can sign up to play” said Todd Guthrie. He’s the Chief Tournament Director for this event. It divides players into three categories based on their rating and experience. Not only are the players competing for bragging rights, there’s also cash on the line for winners.

We met Bill Savoie. He told us he’s been playing since he was a young teenager, more than 60 years ago. “Chess is two things you don’t get anywhere else. First you get objectivity. A lot of us wish for things and we don’t know if they’ll work, but in chess, you get to see your ideas unfold and you find out if you’re blowin’ smoke or if you’re on target.” Savoie told WAFF 48. “The second things about chess that I like is that you get intimate. You can’t play chess and hide because you lose. You get exposed against your will.”

Guthrie echoed Savoie’s comments. “It’s complexity. It’s easy to learn the basics, it can be addictive. Anyone can start to play chess. But to really get good at it, you’ve got to spend time. It can take years.. years of working at chess to get up to whatever your peak is.”

Savoie went deeper, adding “Learning how to play chess is a way of being yourself, being exposed and developing long term relationships.” Savoie said. “I’ve known a lot of these people for 40 years.” Savoie compared it to a dating app, but without physical bodies involved. “We’re getting entangled with another consciousness.” Savoie said. “After a game, I can feel the other people thinking for a couple of days. It takes a while for it to wear off.”

If you want to hear more of Savoie’s esoteric thoughts on chess, check out the uncut interview below:

Bill Savoie was competing for the Alabama Chess Championship in Madison this weekend

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