Personal Hygeine and smelly chess clubs

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Martin Crichton
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Personal Hygeine and smelly chess clubs

Post by Martin Crichton » Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:18 am

Difficult subject to broach but last night I visited a club in London (won't say it's name or location to avoid embarrassment for the club or it's members) and I had to leave after 2 minutes to get some fresh air.

I can only describe the smell as similar to the smell associated with someone who has not washed themselves in several months. You know when you are sitting on a train or bus and some vagrant gets on and everyone moves away because the stench is too overpowering.

The club in question has an older membership and all I can suggest is that management take note and try to address the situation...perhaps discreetly give some presents of scented soap and body sprays to some of its offending members.

Fortunately I am not a member as I am not known for my tactfulness (I would probably say something along the lines of...speaking as a friend I need to tell you that there is a bit of a hummm from you and you badly need a bath!)
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John Upham
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Re: Personal Hygeine and smelly chess clubs

Post by John Upham » Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:41 am

Whilst employed as an IT consultant at a European Bank I was consulted by some of the secretaries who sought my help regarding a member of staff who had a revolting personal aroma. This was due to an aversion to personal hygiene. They had to walk through his wake to reach their desks.

As I was on at 6am some days I was able to leave a bar of soap on his desk with a suitable message.

The problem was solved. :D
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Martin Crichton
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Re: Personal Hygeine and smelly chess clubs

Post by Martin Crichton » Fri Oct 24, 2014 7:34 pm

Sometimes the difficulty is people are afraid to cause offence to the individual or individuals effected but any real or true friends would tell the individual about his problem (often the individual is blissfuly unaware of how bad the problem actually is)
I can only assume that once the matter is rectified that any short term upset or offence would be forgotten about and that the person effected would realise that people are only acting or informing him in his own best interests.
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Richard Thursby
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Re: Personal Hygeine and smelly chess clubs

Post by Richard Thursby » Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:00 pm

Martin Crichton wrote: (won't say it's name or location to avoid embarrassment for the club or it's members)
It took me considerably less than five minutes to find out which club it is.

Indeed, it is a conundrum. Take your pick between any stench inside and exhaust fumes from passing cars outside. Best to raise it with club management rather than say anything to the person or persons yourself, if necessary by correspondence afterwards (hence I hope I now don't receive a whole host of emails on the subject). Do the laws of chess on distraction come in to play here?

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MJMcCready
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Re: Personal Hygeine and smelly chess clubs

Post by MJMcCready » Sat Oct 25, 2014 5:33 am

It could be a tactic. I can imagine that your ability to play well is reduced in such circumstances, giving the home side unfair advantage.

John Foley
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Re: Personal Hygeine and smelly chess clubs

Post by John Foley » Sun Oct 26, 2014 1:52 pm

These issues need to be handled sensitively. This is a broad topic which affects the reputation of chess and chess players. It is not just a personal problem but a social problem. When encountering self-neglect you should also be aware that the individual concerned may need assistance at home. Chess serves as a therapy for some people who would lose a core meaning in their lives if they could not play. We should also note that chess attracts certain types of individual who have a narrow intellectual focus and fail to realise the impact that their shabby clothing and lack of cleanliness have on others. Enquiring with social services may be required in some cases.

Michael Flatt
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Re: Personal Hygeine and smelly chess clubs

Post by Michael Flatt » Sun Oct 26, 2014 4:56 pm

Not exactly on topic, but related. What might be considered acceptable in terms of refreshments that one's opponent might be permitted to consume at the board before it becomes bad manners and unacceptable?

I presume drinking water and beverages from a cup would be acceptable, but eating a three course meal would not.

At what point would you object to your opponent eating at the board? If there was no arbiter present what would you do?

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MJMcCready
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Re: Personal Hygeine and smelly chess clubs

Post by MJMcCready » Sun Oct 26, 2014 5:05 pm

I would object immediately if their breathe smelled of onions.

Clive Blackburn

Re: Personal Hygeine and smelly chess clubs

Post by Clive Blackburn » Sun Oct 26, 2014 5:32 pm

I would object strongly the moment that the champagne ice bucket appeared (unless of course my opponent produced a 2nd glass and offered to share the bottle with me) :lol:

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Re: Personal Hygeine and smelly chess clubs

Post by AustinElliott » Sun Oct 26, 2014 7:39 pm

Clive Blackburn wrote:I would object strongly the moment that the champagne ice bucket appeared (unless of course my opponent produced a 2nd glass and offered to share the bottle with me) :lol:
Presumably the above is unlikely to happen unless you are playing against the Times chess correspondent?

Clive Blackburn

Re: Personal Hygeine and smelly chess clubs

Post by Clive Blackburn » Sun Oct 26, 2014 9:41 pm

AustinElliott wrote:
Clive Blackburn wrote:I would object strongly the moment that the champagne ice bucket appeared (unless of course my opponent produced a 2nd glass and offered to share the bottle with me) :lol:
Presumably the above is unlikely to happen unless you are playing against the Times chess correspondent?
If I were ever to play against the said gentleman, champagne might well be served but I would not be too optimistic about the offer of the 2nd glass! :wink:

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Jon Mahony
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Re: Personal Hygeine and smelly chess clubs

Post by Jon Mahony » Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:59 am

We once had a member at Leeds CC who clearly had learning difficulties and also a terrible problem with BO (most of the time he wore a leather jacket, and if this was kept on the smell would simply engulf the whole pub, if he removed said jacket, everyone else would nearly be puking over their chess boards).

It was a difficult situation and I felt quite sorry for the guy, I believed his parents had died or something, and he was unable to look after himself alone.

Unfortunately one of our other members lost his temper one day (I can hardly blame him as the leather jacket had come off) and told him something along the lines that he needed to get an ‘effin bath. After which he never really came back. A sad end, but to be honest if he’d started wanting to play in other league matches, we’d have had complaints galore on our hands.
"When you see a good move, look for a better one!" - Lasker

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MJMcCready
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Re: Personal Hygeine and smelly chess clubs

Post by MJMcCready » Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:35 am

Sometimes people need to be told.

John Upham
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Re: Personal Hygeine and smelly chess clubs

Post by John Upham » Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:12 pm

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Clive Blackburn

Re: Personal Hygeine and smelly chess clubs

Post by Clive Blackburn » Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:42 pm

John Upham wrote:A sign of things to come: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-29990334
Let's hope that he/she isn't a chess player! :-D

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