Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Lost in Amsterdam

Still alive! After a couple of days in the Cotswolds, in England, I'm now in Amsterdam. Got in on the weekend. Despite its downsides, like the lousy customer service and short days, this city is now officially a favourite. There are plenty to love about Amsterdam.

Of course there are the famed coffeehouses and sex joints for those who cannot get enough of their kind of services, but being a drinker myself, I've pretty much settled into the city's plentiful cosy little pubs. Too many good joints to name. Also, when here, check out Amstel Bock beer - a good one that. While for consumerists, the shopping here is even better than in Sydney (though it's hard to beat London's Oxford St).

And oh, gents, the female Swiss tourists are particularly friendly. Make sure you speak of sun and surf back home. Even an Asian bloke like moi can get away with it.

So my first couple of days here has been good so far except that yesterday I hit my first disappointment. The so-called Gambit chess cafe is no longer where Chessbase said it would be. Bloemgracht 20 has been completely curtained up, the chessboard above the doorway gone, and the place abandoned. I was quite sad about that. I hope that they've just relocated. I popped into a nearby pub where a couple of young guys, coincidentally, where playing chess and asked what ever happened to Schaakhuis Gambit. No one could help me.

Any of our readers know what happened to Schaakhuis Gambit?

Anyway, after a whole day on foot, I returned to my hotel. Popped the TV on and who should I see on Dutch television but none other than Loek van Wely himself! He was being interiewed for Holland Sport. I obviously couldn't understand a single word of it but it looked to be a complete riot of an interview. Surely, only in the Netherlands do you see that.

I'm off. Hope to catch a couple of museums today as well as the Max Euwe centre. But I hope even more that this weather holds up.


Jan Krans-Plaisier said...

Gambiet was closed in 2005 after the owner, Menashe Goldberg, died. As far as I know, there are now two chess caf├ęs in Amsterdam: De Laurierboom (Laurierstraat 76, in the Jordaan) and Het Hok (Lange Leidsedwarsstraat/Leidsekruisstraat, close to the Leidseplein). The former is in a way the successor of Gambiet, and indeed better than Het Hok if you really want to play chess. Enjoy your stay.

Anonymous said...

the gambit was soooooo cool! i ran into that place purely by accident as i was staying down the street at the 'van onna' and, being a chess player (although of poor calibre), i was drawn to the place by the sign.

the people there were so very cool and friendly, and i was able to purchase bottles of grolsch for the amazingly low price of 1,80 euro, which was cheap as far as i was concerned!

the bartender even let me fire up my pipe - and two days later, when i stumbled back in the place, they had my pipe, my stash and 15 euro which i'd completely forgotten about (as i'd gotten rather obnoxycated), all waiting for me in an nice envelope.

i also got to meet menashe goldberg, with whom i discussed anarchy, communism and trotsky (he seemed to be a good stout-hearted anti-authoritarian to me!) and several of the patrons.