Politics & Government

Seattle turns down Tacoma councilman’s chess challenge

If you’ve ever wanted to play chess with a Tacoma City Councilman, now’s your chance.

Marty Campbell recently sent a Facebook message to Seattle City Council President Sally Clark to challenge anyone on the Seattle City Council to a chess match.

Campbell, a director at-large for the Washington Chess Federation, said he wanted to stage a publicity game to promote International Chess Day, held this Saturday.

Perhaps to preserve her city’s honor, Clark turned him down. She told Campbell she played at a grade-school level and didn’t know if anyone else on her council played.

Sometimes the only winning move is not to play.

Clark then suggested a different opponent.

“You should try (state Attorney General) Bob Ferguson,” she wrote.

Apparently Ferguson has a reputation as a tough opponent.

So far Campbell hasn’t asked Ferguson for a game, but Campbell said during the Tuesday City Council meeting that he welcomes all challengers.

“Oct. 12 is National Chess Day when everyone is encouraged to go to a tournament and pull out a board … or teach it to a youth,” he said at the meeting.

As of Thursday Campbell said he’s still waiting for someone to take him up on his offer.

“I would be glad to meet anyone at a coffee shop and play,” Campbell said.

Campbell assured me that, while he was a state champion in high school, these days he plays at a lower level with a U.S. Chess Federation rating of 1,234 (essentially a novice).

Campbell is also helping to teach the Lincoln High School chess team.

"It looks like they have some phenomenal players," he said.

You can set up a match by calling or emailing Campbell’s City Council office: 253-591-5166, marty.campbell@cityoftacoma.org.