It was a clear day in LA and the weather was comfortable. My wife, Susan had left to teach school that morning as she had since the start of the school year a few days before.
As I got up to check for orders and begin the packing process of chess equipment, I turned on the TV and there before me was one of the worst days in our nation’s history unfolding with terrible consequences. That day is now known simply as 9/11 and it was upon us with tremendous ferocity.
As memorials and funerals took place for the many people who died in that disaster, I decided to do something that chess players would recognize as a remembrance of that day. I created the commemorative 9/11 chess board. I printed 1,000 copies of this board and contacted many vendors and distributors of chess equipment.
I made a simple statement to them, “Please take these boards at no charge to you and sell them at your chess tournaments. With all of the money you receive, whether donations or the price you charge, send that money to the local fire departments in your communities. Tell these first responders that these donations should be forwarded to the families of those killed in this terrible event.”
On this upcoming anniversary every player who purchased or gave a donation for this board should take it out and play a game in memory of those who died.
I got some information right after I gave away these boards: That morning several of our chess instructors in the area of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the Pennsylvania sites were providing chess lessons for some school students. It was later learned that some of the parents of these students perished in this tragedy. As with other traumatic events in our nation’s history, we should always remember, “United We Stand and Never Forget.” A copy of this board is currently in the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis, Missouri.
This piece was originally posted on September 11, 2011. Dewain Barber is our new US Chess Dean of Scholastic Chess, and the founder of the Barber tournament of K-8 Champions. Find more his writing at barberchess.com.