The Philosophy of a NYC Street Chess Player – T.C.

Take a look inside the philosophy of the King of Union Square: T.C. This short documentary film, produced by Chess Twins, covers topics including “Why do you play chess in Union Square Park?” and “What are the similarities between chess and life?”

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103 Comments

  1. Great video! It is well filmed and produced.

  2. You should interview more of the street players and their chess philosophies. Loved the video

  3. Every word out of that man's mouth is TRUTH. Especially chess being taught in elementary schools as a required class.

  4. 5:11 I hear the winter games in the background… great video btw

  5. This is wonderful. Great idea. Please keep it up. I’m loving it. Happy new year to all the chess brethren.

  6. I generally don’t comment on videos because I feel comments often devolve into…well, the internet. However, I feel compelled to comment here because I have some compliments and constructive criticism prompted by the very different nature of this video compared to your others. I am going to generalize heavily in some areas so take that for what it is.

    First, I was pleasantly surprised to see a video that humanizes the people that play street chess. Often, street chess players are depicted in a negative manner, either as hustlers or as arrogant and overconfident (sometimes both), and in need of a takedown. This paints such players as villains of sorts and that’s all well and good because every good guy needs a bad guy. This video showed an excellent, if not sometimes flawed perspective of a player I might see in another video as one of the aforementioned players.

    Second, the window into the life beyond chess for street players is an interesting and under appreciated (or at least less covered) topic. The parallels between “street” and “club” players (I use those terms as one could be both but each elicits a different person in my paradigm) and their philosophical approach to the game as depicted here is quite similar. Such qualities include challenging yourself, developing a life long love of chess, broadening the mind of young players, teaching chess in schools, etc.

    The divergence, as I see it, is the dissonance of wanting to teach chess while simultaneously keeping winning formulas to themselves. This blur between the competitive lifeblood (i.e. the money) and open teaching limits the expansion of chess in a way. Your video could do a little more to flesh out those differences and possibly provide a little more perspective on why this is a necessity to street chess.

    Please note, I am in not saying this type of behavior doesn’t occur in “club” chess; rather, I am interested in the difference insofar as rating and prestige may be the critical measures of success in club chess. Conversely, those measures are shifted (at least in my limited understanding) to money as the ultimate winning aspect for a player like the one depicted here. The evidence supporting my assertion is the player’s job.

    He said he quit his job for chess and stated that he was teaching many students. What were his methods of teaching focusing on? What differences and similarities might we find between his methods and those of another tutor focused on “club” chess.

    Suffice to say, I absolutely realize that much of what I wrote here is conjecture filled with a lot of assumptions about a culture I’m not familiar with (both club and street chess) and my background stands purely in playing against computers. My rating is quite poor so I have no illusions that I would somehow stand a chance against this player (or probably anyone even reading this comment).

    But let me end this random internet essay with what I’d specifically like to see more of in future videos of this type:

    1. Background information on family support or (dis)approval of street chess as a career.
    2. A couple of questions that frame the viewpoint of a street player’s view on the “classical” chess world (clubs, competitions, etc). Do they participate in those activities as well?
    3. Approximations of ratings for interviewed players (not even sure how to do this) for comparison
    4. Preference in play style and why. For instance, very aggressive with banter to divert or distract attention, slow play mind games, etc.
    5. Where they acquire their chess knowledge to keep growing in their “meta” and if not where (trade secrets or whatever) then how.
    6. Their opinions on how a guy like me should move forward. Would they recommend diving headfirst into street chess, spending time in books, working with a tutor, all of the above?
    7. What does street chess offer that is unique in the world of chess? Why do they value that uniqueness? What might they change to expand this unique culture?

    Most of what I said is rambles but, again, I haven’t seen this type of coverage much (it’s probably out there so, yes, I know I can Google it) or at all and this kind of player profile has never really hit my stream of consciousness in the past since we don’t have street chess where I live.

    Or maybe we do and I just don’t know where to look. Yet another reason to push those questions on the culture and how to find it!

    Keep up the good work!

    Disclaimer: I’m sure I made some grammar and spelling mistakes. I typed this on my phone. If I can get over it as a literary critic, historian, and linguist, you can too! Or don’t and flame away. This is the youtube comments section; I expect to be misinterpreted and stereotyped.

    Toodles!

  7. "Chess is a challenge… for the other guy." Brilliant man! His more serious philosophical points are also amazing to hear.

  8. Chess a school requirement.
    Very interesting.

  9. Good vid but there's lots of games where you die and come back to life, except life

  10. He talked a lot of nonsense… but in a funny and inspirational way. Nice video!

  11. Very arrogant & conceited player. He's way off base stating that players ranked 1500, 1600 don't know anything about chess. Somebody should remind TC that no matter what his ranking, there are other players who are much stronger than he is, and can just as easily make the claim that he doesn't know anything compared to themselves. Chess Twins: You make a lot of great videos, and I'm surprised you idolize this type of an individual. Very poor message sent here, not to mention the music in the background is very annoying. A definite thumbs down to this video.

  12. Me gusta mucho tu canal. No domino el idioma inglés y se agradece los subtitulos. Muchas gracias por contribución.
    I really like your channel. I do not speak English and subtitles are appreciated. Thank you very much for your contribution.

  13. Hi guys! Great video!
    I'm coming to NYC in a couple of weeks and I'd love to try and play some of these street chess masters. When do you recomend me to go to Union Square? Is it a weekend activity or something? Thanks and Happy 2019!

  14. I hope one day i can play chess here.

  15. Y’all are putting together some excellent content. This subculture of the chess world is rich in itself and I’m happy to see y’all showing it as well as helping to grow the game. Kudos!

  16. Well done maybe you could interview more of these guys that make a living playing chess.

  17. It pains me to see so many of these chess hustlers smoking .

  18. Amazing video. I feel really inspired after watching.

  19. Loved seeing TC pop up in your videos every once in a while, and that makes this deeper look really rewarding, nice work. Great channel, keep it up!

  20. I don't agree that chess should be taught in schools. Getting good at chess makes one good at chess. There's no evidence I have ever seen that it will do anything more than that. Teaching formal logic in schools on the other hand ought to be a requirement.

  21. Really enjoyed this! The ending was so wholesome 👍

  22. I like this guy for real, keep going, greetings from Barcelona, Spain.

  23. This needs to be made into a Wu-Tang interlude 😂😂😂

  24. As a teacher that has started a few chess clubs, I agree that chess should be part of school curriculum.

  25. 99% of NYC chess players are drug addicts …….as u just saw

  26. All young Americans should be taught chess in school, the best game. It teaches you to think and so much more

  27. I'm from the States(FL) and I lived in Spain for 2 years as an English teacher, I taught private chess lessons on the side my first year. My second year I was provided a whole classroom with 15 students to teach chess to due to demand from the kids & parents.

  28. Good Video but why did you made the music so loud
    I would have had prefer to hear his voice

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