The Mechanics and the Eade Foundation: Building communities through chess

by Alexey Root
11/12/2019 – The newest chess foundation in the world was announced during a Twitch broadcast from the oldest chess club in the United States. The new chess foundation is the Eade Foundation, with FIDE Master James “Jim” Eade serving as its Chairman, CEO, and President. The oldest chess club in the United States is the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club, which is reaching out to new communities through online broadcasting. WIM ALEXEY ROOT reports. | Pictured: Paul and Jay Whitehead in 1973 | Photo: Mechanics' Institute Chess Club

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Old club learns new tricks

The Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club is the oldest chess club in the United States, with its first meeting in 1854 and incorporating in 1855. One of its long-standing traditions is the Tuesday Night Marathon (TNM). Soon after Abel G. Talamantez took over as Chess Director, he changed the format of the TNM to three sections: Championship, A/B (up to 1999), and Under 1600. March 26, 2019 was the very first broadcast of the TNM via Twitch. The host for the TNM broadcasts is FIDE Master Paul Whitehead. Along with his younger brother, International Master Jay Whitehead, Paul grew up in chess at the Mechanics’ Institute.

Talamantez emailed, “The purpose of the broadcasting of club games was to bring our club out to the chess community, allowing the world to see inside our club, follow our games, and showcase the culture of the San Francisco chess community and the power of a chess club to bring people together”.

In other words, a weeknight club tournament is treated as a world-class event, with live commentary by a FIDE Master, the TNM players appearing with Whitehead to post-mortem their games, and publication and analysis of the TNM games later in weekly newsletters. The Twitch broadcasts are archived on YouTube, in case one cannot watch the live-streaming each Tuesday night.

Even though I don’t live near San Francisco, I enjoy watching FIDE Master Paul Whitehead’s analysis. He does not use computer engine analysis; he is adept at sharing his human thoughts about chess positions and chess personalities. Occasionally, Whitehead refers to players in a way that only those of us who are old-timers could likely figure out. For example, on the October 29th TNM broadcast, Whitehead and his special guest for that night, FIDE Master James “Jim” Eade, both mentioned their past games against “Vince.” I can imagine some viewers having no idea who “Vince” is, though maybe Whitehead answered inquiries about “Vince” in Twitch chat. (I watched the archived show on YouTube, which does not display that chat). Readers, do you know who “Vince” is? Answer in the comments!

The broadcast from October 29th

Breaking News

Also on that October 29th TNM broadcast, Eade made the first announcement (outside of a Facebook page) of the Eade Foundation, founded October 1st, 2019. In addition to Eade, who is Chairman, CEO, and President, board members include Lauren Goodkind (Secretary), Carolyn Withgitt Dorsch, and FIDE Master Mark Pinto (Treasurer). In an interesting coincidence, Goodkind appeared on the TNM broadcast the week before Eade did, on October 22nd.

The Eade Foundation has already sent chess sets and boards to Uganda, Zambia, and Nicaragua. On the broadcast, Eade mentioned that one reason for ending his 20-year service with the U.S. Chess Trust was that the Trust is limited to the United States. The Eade Foundation can reach worldwide. 

I previously wrote about Jim Eade in this article, which highlighted his writing, publishing, and chess leadership experience. According to an email from Eade, the mission of the Eade Foundation is “building communities through chess for those who cannot otherwise easily access the chess community.” Eade added that the Eade Foundation’s purpose is “to enhance chess literacy and chess excellence. Chess literacy means the ability to read and write chess notation. Reading notation opens the vast world of chess literature to the reader. Chess excellence advances the state of the sport/art and inspires others to achieve excellence on their own”. For more information, go to the Eade Foundation’s Facebook page or to its website.

Two-fer Tuesday

GM Nick de Firmian and IM Elliott Winslow provided annotations for the October 29th TNM games in this edition of the club’s weekly newsletter. In this “Two-fer Tuesday” section, I share two positions from that second round of the Fall TNM that caught my eye. 

In this first position, Black has just played 19....c5, What should White reply in this position, taken from the game National Master Carlos Davila versus Steffen Thieme? 


White found the correct 20.♖e4! Unfortunately, White picked the wrong follow-up two moves later and lost. See full game in the viewer below.

Mechanics' Institute Chess Club

Screenshot of Davila-Thieme game broadcast with Eade and Whitehead

In the second position, National Master Michael Walder prepared the first 17 moves against FIDE Master Kyron Griffith, the top seed in the Fall TNM. Walder-Griffith is annotated in detail by de Firmian. When Griffith left book on move 17, Walder capitalized. What did Walder play on move 27 to effectively end Griffith’s resistance?


27.e6! was the killer blow. See full game in the viewer below.


The 2019 Fall TNM continues through December 17th. To learn about future TNMs or about other offerings by the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club, visit its homepage


Alexey was the 1989 U.S. Women's Chess Champion and is a Woman International Master. She earned her bachelor’s degree in History at the University of Puget Sound and her doctoral degree in Education at The University of California, Los Angeles. She has been a Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies at UT Dallas since 1999 and is a prolific author.


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