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The treehouse, and the book that tells its story, Treehouse Chronicles: One Man’s Dream of Life Aloft, have just been featured on the Unites States Chess Federation website. A chess problem was set up in the treehouse (the second floor was designed just to play chess) and members of the USCF were asked to try to solve it. The distraction of having the problem set up on a chess set that looks like something out of the Lord of the Rings, didn’t seem to bother anyone, as several people solved the problem quickly. If you would like to try your hand, here’s the link to the USCF site.
Our thanks to Jennifer Shahade, two-time American women’s chess champion, for working with us on this cool idea. We met Jennifer earlier this year at Book Expo America in Washington DC, (where we went to pick up two national book awards for Treehouse Chronicles–see the awards page in the sidebar), and we immediately hit it off. If you are interested in chess, please check out her book, Chess Bitch: Women in the Ultimate Intellectual Sport.
When I built the treehouse, the second floor was dedicated entirely to playing chess. My business partner, Ted Walsh, a master craftsman, built a custom chess set for me out of twigs and sticks and bits of copper and aluminum. It’s very cool. The chess board rests on a shelf above a branch that passes right through the treehouse, and the pieces live on shelves next to the door that leads out to the second floor deck.
I went up into the treehouse yesterday to get something and discovered that the door on the second floor had blown open during the very high winds we had over the past weekend (gusts to 60), and that the room was now full of pine needles. Oddly, not a single chess piece had been blown off the shelves, even though they were right next to the open door. How these little men and women, made from twigs and resting on felt-covered bases, withstood the big blasts from the northwest is a mystery to me. But then, the treehouse is always a mysterious place, even in calm weather.