This quirky chess set is a Cool Golf Thing

It's a tribute fit for a former king of the professional game.

Like practically all Netflix subscribers, I enjoyed binge-watching the series The Queen's Gambit a couple months ago. I've had some familiarity with chess in my life, and I've always appreciated the similarities between it and golf. Both games tend to appeal to strategic-minded people who enjoy puzzling out how to navigate their respective playing fields, different though they may look. Both games are also notable for their propensity to attract obsessives. Both require a monk-like devotion in order to excel at the highest levels. There is also the immense awe that each game's greatest practitioners inspire in recreational players.

Golf and chess blend as part of a new exhibit at TPC Potomac outside Washington, D.C., celebrating native son Deane Beman, who presided over the PGA Tour as its commissioner from 1974 to 1994. In that time, Beman turned the Tour into a juggernaut brand, instituting its flagship Players Championship, the TPC network of golf courses, birthing the Senior Tour (now the PGA Tour Champions), pumping up the PGA Tour's philanthropic activities and turning its events into a big-time TV product.

Affecting such sweeping changes, even over two decades, takes considerable strategic thinking ability, so a chess set depicting Beman as the king is a fitting tribute to his tenure. Kept under glass at the center of the TPC Potomac archival exhibition, the pedestal on which it sits bears a kind tribute in the form of a quote from Paul Fletcher, a real estate developer and friend of Beman's.

"I once read about chess players," it reads, "and what makes a true grandmaster is someone who can look at the board and see it in an entirely different fashion than his opponent. That's Deane. He could look at a situation and see three moves ahead."

March 22, 2019
300 words or less, every other Friday.

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for GolfPass. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
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