An increase in concussions, due to escalating violence in the ultimate thinking man’s game, are now too much legal risk for California public school districts and municipal sponsored and sanctioned tournaments. The escalating mayhem is at the root of the rash of head injuries as temperamental players throw increasingly violent tantrums. Just last week at a San Diego Surfers Chess Camp, local police had to be called in to stem a brouhaha that developed because one player neglected to offer his opponent a draw. Friends of both players leaped to the defense of their pals and the pommeling began. Few injuries resulted other than one youngster that required medical attention as a result of being stabbed just above his right eye with a Queen.
Camp Director, Edgar Conway, tried to downplay the fracas as just "boys being boys" but a camp assistant (who insisted on remaining anonymous) was not so sure. He claimed that there have been seven such instances since January of this year and they are increasing in intensity. The camp has gone so far as to allow only Styrofoam chess boards and pieces. Players have been required to wear helmets and eye protection.
And the upheaval does not begin or end with the players. Enraged parent spectators have become all too common with fisticuffs breaking out at any time. Metal detectors have been installed at the camp to try to prevent most dangerous improvised weapons from being carried into the event. I'm not just talking about garden variety weapons such as brass knuckles, shivs, small whips and nunchucks, but some truly frightening ones. Just in the last month we've confiscated a small spear, a razor whip, water bombs, a scythe, zip gun and a radio bomb.
Things have gotten out of hand and the cost of ensuring the events has become prohibitive. Thus, a once revered game that originated in China in the 6th century AD, has become too violent to be played in person and may in the future, have to be played competitively via the internet.
I guess it’s checkmate to competitive chess in California.