ICA Recognizes, Applauds Chess Moms on Their Special Day


It's been over a decade since I lost my own mother, but the Illinois chess community has in many ways been a second mother to me. The support of many has gotten me through the loss of my father within the past year, and I'm humbled with appreciation.

I've often wondered where chess would be without the chess moms out there who wait patiently for their little bundles of joy to emerge from the tournament room. Long before the tell-tale thumbs up or down is flashed for the benefit of others, these chess moms can tell by the way their sons or daughters carry themselves what the result at the board has been.

With hundreds of Illinois chess moms down in Nashville for SuperNationals, let us take a moment to honor these amazing souls who have shuttled their loved ones to tens of thousands of lessons, club meetings and tournaments in the past year alone.

Mothers Day became an official American holiday in 1914 so we're up to 104 of them -- but fun fact -- Anna Jarvis, its creator remained unmarried and childless her whole life.

She was sparked to push for the holiday after her mother's passing in 1905 -- "honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children." (according to history.com). Although some states recognized it before that, it took nine years to get the event recognized nationally (keep in mind, women weren't even guaranteed a right to vote in the US until 1920.)

But Jarvis actually changed her mind (might this mean she was a chess player, perhaps?) and she argued against the holiday towards the end of her life, disappointed at how commercial it had become. (Don't even get her started on the subject of Christmas!)

According to history.com:

"Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele.

"While versions of Mother’s Day are celebrated worldwide, traditions vary depending on the country.

"In Thailand, for example, Mother’s Day is always celebrated in August on the birthday of the current queen, Sirikit.

"Another alternate observance of Mother’s Day can be found in Ethiopia, where families gather each fall to sing songs and eat a large feast as part of Antrosht, a multi-day celebration honoring motherhood."

Another fun fact: More phone calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year.  

So if you have the chance to show your mother some appreciation today, please do so.

I can no longer contact mine, and this brings me more than a moment of melancholy on this beautiful Sunday.

Thanks, Chess Moms everywhere, for doing what you do! Win, lose or draw, you're there to help chess players of all ages pick up the pieces after their games.