Providence likes its mayor to be accessible and develop a cult of personality – hence the enduring popularity of someone like Buddy Cianci. While the introverted, cerebral Mayor Elorza may not be that same kind of larger-than-life character, he’s been showcasing that accessibility and personality in his own unique ways. Every Sunday morning he goes for a three-mile run in Roger Williams Park and invites the public to join him. He very visibly bikes to work. He started hosting “Code Night with the Mayor” to encourage aspiring computer geeks. And in perhaps his supreme show of geekery-made-cool, he started a chess club. Providence Chess Club meets the second Thursday of every month from 5-7pm in the Alderman’s Chamber at City Hall. All are invited to match up with neighbors, residents, City employees and, of course, the mayor himself. “I’ve played chess my entire life and I love the challenge of sitting down against a good opponent,” Elorza explains. “It’s very enjoyable and provides an opportunity for city residents to come together for some friendly competition.” Just be warned, though – bring your A game: the mayor is a tough competitor (you don’t win an election against Cianci by just being a nice guy) and he’s not going to let you win just to get your vote.
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