Two weeks beforehand, I had been staying in San Francisco.
During this time, I decided to pay a visit to the Mechanics' Chess Institute where I was greeted very warmly.
Some years later, I still remember Mr John Donaldson for giving me such good advice. This guy, definitively from the west coast, is a strong international master who works for one of the most historic chess clubs in the United States.
(The Mechanics' Chess Club is located in one of the oldest buildings in SF and has a huge chess library)