Timothy Alexander, Real Change’s resident chess expert, sees the world in black and white.
Alexander, known as “Red” because of his hair color, says that chess has been a part of his life for several years. He was president of his chess club and wrote its monthly newsletter at Amarillo College in Texas.
In addition to playing chess, Red says he was also a student government representative while attending college. That’s no surprise, considering his perpetually amicable nature.
“You know, between the student government body and all my duties on that, I was really busy, but I always took time to promote the game [of chess]. I enjoyed being president of the chess club. A couple classes I didn’t do that well in, it’s because I was playing chess all the time,” Red adds with a chuckle.
A born and bred Texan from a heavily Christian family, Red notes that he enjoys the “laid-back” attitude that the people of the Northwest exude. Having traveled through and lived in Seattle, Olympia and a few other locations, Red noted that “even the chili is different here … the beans, the meat.” Though far from his southern roots, Red elaborates that his love for “the nature and the woods” is what draws him back to the Northwest, even after visits home to Texas to care for his dying father.
Red served as district manager of a Waffle House for 10 years before he injured his back, and was unable to work any longer. He reminisces about his more athletic days before he was injured. “I lettered in baseball and football, where they called me Big Red.” Now he likes to walk and swim to maintain his level of exercise.
Chess provides Red plenty of mental exercise. He plays every day, and aspires to one day become a Grandmaster, a classification of a chess world champion. Quoting Mikhail Tal, Red says, “First of all, chess is an art.” It’s one that Red takes very seriously. He hopes to set up chessboards at his selling location and eventually do chess demonstrations while he sells.
A frequent attendee of Real Change’s Editorial Committee meetings, Red highly enjoys “being involved in the evolution of the paper,” including discussing different ideas, most notably involving chess. Red hopes to one day challenge Real Change’s own numerically inclined Dr. Wes Browning to a match, having already shared a conversation about mathematical permutations.
Red has had a lifetime of intellectual stirrings in his head. “I got ostracized [growing up] because I’d ask questions. … I delved into it, which I think a lot of people just depend on their preacher or whatever to delve into the meanings. Me, I can’t do that, I’ve always been, ‘Well, why did that work? Why did it not work?’ And that’s what really got me involved with the game I love, chess. It’s the royal game, and what it does, it teaches you how, when, where, why, but you always ask these questions about power. And ‘Why? Why did they do that?’ is one of the biggest things you can do in the chess world, ‘Why did they just do that?’ I have a very analytical nature.”
Red described himself as a “smart-ass.” But he has mood swings because he is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. “I can’t help it, you know?”
The jovial playfulness with which Red speaks is indicative of his intelligence. His humor, his consistent presence in the Real Change office and his contributions on the Editorial Committee clearly demonstrate that Red is one to think outside the box or, perhaps in his case, the board.