Welcome to FatCat Chess
Behind the scenes: Fat Cat chess
If you’ve ever had an enchanting evening in the Village of Manhattan, you may have happened upon a swanky jazz club at 75 Christopher Street. Behind the captivated crowd there are bound to be raucous cheers and jeers as pool sharks, foosball aficionados, ping-pong enthusiasts, and avid chess players battle for glory and laughs. Amidst the smooth jazz, flowing drinks, and reveling gamers the Fat Cat Chess Club was founded in 2019.
The first members were recruited by Avi organically from various facets of New York chess life: Andy from the Marshall Chess Club, Simcha from the Chess Forum near Washington Square, Lee found solving a chess puzzle on the N line subway to Astoria, Queens. Once the founding squad was assembled, the lively atmosphere and hilarity of our outrageous trash-talk naturally attracted fellow adventurers and so our club began to bloom. That is, until March 20, 2020 when (then)-Governor Cuomo announced his executive PAUSE order for NY in response to the rapidly spreading pandemic.
It felt as if the world was turned upside down.
Suddenly, the space where we felt safest and most comfortable: dinner at home with our friends and family, became one of our greatest existential threats for survival. Under PAUSE and at the start of quarantine it was as if society itself paused, reset, and stalled during its reboot. Our ordinarily busy schedules were inexplicably free, our commutes were eliminated, many of our jobs were, in fact, paused as well. This seismic shift in circumstances did not, however, freeze the Fat Cat Chess Club members’ appetite for chess. In fact, with the at-times overwhelming free time during quarantine, we craved entertainment and so the demand grew. After a few pestering texts from angsty club members, Avi picked up the phone and started making calls. He called his best chess friends from across the country. He called new friends, lost friends, old friends, and everywhere in between. And so it came to be that on Sunday, March 29, 2020 the King Kat Sunday Tournament series started with 20 participants at the Fat Cat Chess Club Debut Arena.
Three years later teammates flew in from Las Vegas, New Orleans, New York City, and St. Louis to represent Fat Cat Chess in the U1600 and Open sections of the US Amateur Team – North (USAT-N). Fat Cat Chess surprised the USAT-N with their outlandish costumes, unusual openings, perplexing array of eccentric characters, and altogether impressive performance.
FatCat:King Kat Champions placed 1st for U1800 in the Open. FatCat: Chonk Demeliorati finished 5th in the U1600 with their Board 1: Brent Speizman placing 2nd in his first tournament appearance since 2012, their Board 3 Leon (Victor) Bankston II braved his first flight and placed 1st, and James Tweedie in his first tournament appearance placed 1st among Board Alternates.
Most of these teammates had never actually met each other before adventuring to Chicago to compete against some of the Midwest’s finest amateurs.
And so, a magician from Las Vegas, a condominium accountant, and two chess hustlers from Chicago banded together to take on a field featuring FIDE Masters & Grandmasters.
Visit Fatcatchess.org for more information. You can watch their King Kat Sunday tournaments on twitch.tv/kingkatchess.
Interesting in joining? Contact FatCat@fatcatchess.org or Avi@fatcatchess.org