EICC 2012

European Individual Chess Championship 2012

The ‘teacher’ of street chess in Bogota

Adolfo Paez is a street vendor who has his sydney photo booth in the race Seventh to 19th Street. Born in 1963 and without finishing the studio, he has always worked in the trade.

Selling sweets, packages and drinks, he survives to bring his two daughters to eat. Adolfo’s life could be counted in a very similar way to that of thousands of Colombians who earn barely what they spend and who live in neighborhoods at the edge of the urban center, but the history of this man goes even further than the exhaustive schedules of Work, social injustice or unfulfilled dreams.

For more than 30 years ‘Profe’, as they say in the streets, has dedicated his time and part of his income to the art, discipline and pastime of chess. Although he does not like being called ‘Profe’ because he says he has not studied, Adolfo is recognized in the streets for being a forerunner of chess in Colombia at street level.

The Seventh Race with 19th Street has become a sanctuary for amateur and professional chess players who, regardless of noise, pollution, number of people and the city’s agitation, achieve concentration to make mate to their opponents. Adolfo has been there for four years, and every day he takes out four tables that he has bought from his pocket and keeps close to his tent; He extends them and puts the boards and chips so that anyone who wants to come and play. He also plays, sometimes three or four simultaneous games while attending his candy kiosk and selling minutes.

“I played with (Antanas) Mockus, Gina Parody took the tables and (Gustavo) Petro was not able to play against me,” says Adolfo boasting of his audacity in chess, which has also helped him to undertake educational projects with Past mayorships.

In the Government of Luis Eduardo Garzón signed a pact in which he had permission to sell in the tenth race with street 16 and there he put his first tables; In addition he is responsible for the fact that there are concrete chess boards in part of the city.

The idea came to the realization that in New York there was the practice of street chess. Earlier, when I was working at Kennedy, I was carrying products to sell on a bicycling bike with a grille forward and boards on the back grill.

Although it is sometimes difficult because the Police “annoys” and the constant marches and protests can damage the space, people understand that chess is a healthy discipline. “Chess is not my job, it’s my passion. I do not live in chess, I do not charge, people collaborate with me, “says the Profe, who is very clear that” chess is necessary in Colombia. It teaches norms, intuition, analysis. “

“Chess is life itself,” says Paez convinced that promoting education through this discipline makes children learn, think and stay away from drugs.

“My dream is to have a school of chess and to be able to carry out my daughters, who play very well. Women discriminate against them in chess, put them to play and do not pay them. ” Although Adolfo does not have a large family, he is a single father and not many people support his way of life, he always finds relief and occasionally extra income, in addition to those obtained from the cubicle where he sells.