Santiago 500: Chess House, Emblematic Site

The José Raúl Capablanca Chess House, located in the centric Céspedes Park in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba is one of the most visited installations by chess lovers and is highlighted by its colonial façade dating back to the end of the 18 th century.

The genius Capablanca asked one of the participants to the games with 30 tables held in 1938 in the eastern city, board, players?

Antonio González Trujillo, recognized as one of the fathers of chess in Santiago, recalls that game. That day the young Carlos Santos excited for playing against Capablanca responded: No maestro, let’s give that game more time because the privilege of your presence deserves it.

Currently this is one of the institutions that maintains the tradition of chess alive in Santiago known as the Heroic City and named as the Chess House that carries the name of the major exponent of the science sport in Cuba.

The house, located in the colonial sector of the city which is about to celebrate its 500th anniversary has not always been home to the provincial academy but before the triumph of the Revolution was the site of the Society of the Centro Gallego, commented Gonzalez Trujillo who was its director and professor for many years.

It has had several sties since its creation as a school and in many cases for a long period of time like in the streets of Calvario and Carniceria former Bank. Later it was located on top of the El Gallito Cafeteria in the famous Enramadas Street and later finally where it is found today in San Tomás and Heredia Streets he said.

What is surprising and fascinating of the house is not the black and white mosaic covers that look like a chess board in the interior patio or the flower pots with figures of towers that decorate the play room but in the treasure that is found in the right side of the furniture: the museum of the history of sports in Santiago de Cuba.

The site holds testimonies of figures like Enrique Figuerola, first Olympic medalist of the province and other greats like Alberto Juantorena, Norge Luis Vera, Mercedes Calderon, and other great athletes. Great athletes with special needs like Yunidis Castillo (track and field) and Sergio Arturo (judo)

The installation is the best site to honor the six greatest chess maestros of Santiago de Cuba like Maritza Arribas Tobaina, Zirka Frómeta Castillo, Eldis Cobo Artiaga, Carlos Larduet Despaigne, Oleini Linares Nápoles and Lelys Martínez Duany.

With the objective of showing off the splendor of Santiago de Cuba in commemoration of its 500th anniversary, the institution is under refurbishing for current and future generation, said its director, José Reyes.

The breeze of a renovated city and the hospitable environment involved in a chess game are found in the surrounding areas of Cespedes Park for those that want to try out their luck in a game of chess. (acn)

Written by Argelia Román López, Periodico26.cu

July 7, 2015

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