Archive for January, 2008

Kindred’s Special–Competition Is Good!

January 28, 2008

The logical explanation why chess is not seen regularly on TV as a sport contest is due to the common belief that it is simply too complex a game for the general public to embrace. Another reason is a love affair of the American public for instant gratification and dumbing down of the mental couch potatoes with six packs as they view popular sports like baseball, football, and golf–all requiring little participation other than viewing and throwing a fit now and then. I dare say that by the time they quit viewing these activities their minds are dull as their bottoms are found hard to drag off the couch or easy chair. Enter now the exciting era of poker, Texas draw, where the commentators try to excite viewers while each player eyeballs what cards were dealt and stares at the opposition trying to figure what is going on in their heads. I don’t know about you but after a couple hands I felt rather bored. Oh, sure, there is the thrill of piles of chips somebody is going to win. Follow the money: that is what its about!

Chess has a history on TV. The 1972 World Championship match between Fischer and Spassky was widely viewed by the public. Thousands of young people started to play chess and found it fascinating and challenging. George Koltanowski featured a series of chess shorts, 15-minute programs on PBS. Following the Fischer-Spassky match, a few additional match games appeared by some of the elite players but it eventually folded due to the lack of audience response and perhaps also the time slots.  Making it attractive by holding blitz events, interviews with chess stars, and perhaps some cartoon blurps are ideas no one has come forth with to promote; are the stations’ managers dull-witted?

A critic might argue that America followed the World Championship match because it was seen as a battle between America and the USSR where the victor would reap some political points.

In recent years ESPN has tried to present chess in such fanfare menus as the Kasparov/computer match as well as other tries by TV like the Kramnik-Topalov match which ended in a horrid and unbelieveable error on the part of the chess organizers and participants with cries of cheating and utter character damage to Kramnik with the jokes on late night TV by the comedians. Frankly I blame the chessworld for the type of chess platforms proposed to feature on the tube.

Lets look at golf as an example of the American character. At one time golf was very discriminatory unlike chess that always embraced mankind. Golf is a great game, no question about it. One can get out and enjoy the weather, play with friends and associates, conduct business while soaking up the fresh air and sun. Maybe that is why CEOs have a love affair with the game. Yet, if one looks at a golf tournament on a weekend, it really is a rather boring, mindless and time consuming activity. Again it is a case of instant gratification when viewers hope to see that magical hole in one, eagle or birdie with a host of pros driving hard to improve their standings and lower their scores. I think it must be among all great sports when the lowest score is the one that wins! I dare say that much of the time most viewers tune in toward the end to see who won the event and watch the last few holes among the leading contenders.

Today there are tens of thousands of chess players and perhaps millions of people who have some knowledge of chess for a potential audience. The benefits I will repeat here of the aesthetic beauty as an art form and value seen in a scholastic menu. Can we not challenge our artists, our producers, our entertainment industry and many corporate CEOs and their Boards to at least give attention to its possibilities and values for general consumption? TV talk shows, news outlets, and advertisers often use chess vocabulary with such terms as “push pawns, not drugs’, “checkmate” and “stalemate”, “attack is better than passive defense or indifference” as well as many other phrases that originated with chess terminology.

In the November/December 2007 issue of THE AMERICAN, a lengthy article titled “Rah Rah Block that Rook”, tells the rise of a future super star Ray Robson and goes on to relate the frustrations of former chess powers like Yale, Harvard, Columbia and other major universities who have been shaken by the upstarts of small universities like UTD and UMBC who aggressively recruit world-wide for the chess elite with scholarships, apartments for the chess team, etc. For example, UTD has about 14500 students with focus on science, technology, engineering and business education. The 10-player A/B teams swept the other 22 teams and are composed of 2 Serbians, a Costa Rican, an Indian, a Pole, a Zambian, a Croatian, and 3 Americans said Stallings, pointing to their depth and talent. Eric Ruben, outgoing president of Columbia Chess Club, noted that it is almost impossible to compete at that level. Others say it is a crapshoot to get the 3/4 places.  Yale’s David Lyons suggests it would take a miracle to dethrown the champions. But the battle is not over!More and more universities and colleges are pursuing their own plans to upgrade their talent. Competition breeds desire and pride in their chess clubs. UDT and UMBC will see strong challenges in the future! That can only bode well for chess!!

Is it not time for our chess community in America and neighboring friends to ask our executive leaders in our vast country to put a little of their expertise and financial backing toward our royal and noblest of games? It is by far a most economical menu for the many benefits seen since The Chess in Schools Program was implemented for scholastic chess.

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Kindred’s Special: Mixing Pins with Chess

January 27, 2008

Every so often I find inspiration to write poetry and besides my interest for chess, I love to bowl. In fact, I captain a team holding first place at the top of a 32 team league at Empire Lanes. I have been involved in bowling for several years and in all that time I have seen little or no innovations or even stimulus to promote the game other than for open bowling or tournaments. I suddenly got the poetry bug again and decided to try to flavor bowling with a bit humor and wit.

                                 BOWLING BALL SERENADE

ONE FOR THE MONEY, TWO TO SHOW, PICK THAT SPARE, AND GO TEAM GO! PICK ME UP, LAY ME DOWN. GIVE ME LIFT SO MY ROLL IS SOUND. DOWN THE LANE I SKID AND SLIDE, OOPHS! I HIT DRY AND MY ANGLE’S HIGH. LEFT THE TEN PIN STANDING TALL, THAT LAZY SIX PIN OFF THE WALL, WOW! THAT FOUR PIN WASN’T TOUCHED AT ALL. BACK IN RETURN, WAITING CALL. MY BOSS KNOWS ME WELL. CAN’T LET DOWN I PRAY TO TELL. WITH SKILL OR LUCK HE SENT ME SIDESWIPING THE FOUR AND INTO THE TEN PIN IT FLEW. A SPARE! A WONDERFUL SAVE! AN ADJUSTMENT MADE, A FIRM LIFT FEELS TINGLING GOOD! DOWN THE LANE I GO AND I HEAR THE SHOUT STRIKE LOUD AND CLEAR! ALL TEN PINS DOWN IN RUMBLING FEAR. A T T/A C K: ATTACK THE LANE, YOUR IN CHARGE! TIME TO MOVE!! THAT’S THE BOSS TALKING, DUDE! FROM A BAG OF TRICKS I WANT TO STAY BEST FRIENDS AND PROVE TO THE BOSS “I AM THE COMEBACK KID”. LIKE ALL THINGS, A MATCH MUST END. IN THE BAG I GO. RESTING UP FOR THE NEXT BIG SHOW! AND THERE IS ONE BEST PLACE TO BOWL, WHERE I PERFORM MY MAGIC ROLL!

What else can be accomplished in a bowling center where a fairly good number of enthusiasts engage in friendly play? Here is a suggestion. If you have a bowling buddy or girlfried who shares your interest for chess as well, try bringing in your set and board. Set up the men and play a game using the following idea of mine or make up your own.

The one who goes first on the lanes plays the white side and the moves are made as follows: with each spare or strike, you get to move on the chessboard. Hence, you might find one side might move two or three times in a row. To avoid a checkmate, the opponent can avert the mate by moving even when there is no spare or strike for that side to otherwise avert it. Even black can move first in the game!

I have a feeling that a number of folks will come around to view what is going on especially if you slap hands, hug or whatever to gain further attention.

What a way to get the public to view a chess battle in progress! 

Kindred’s Special: The Notation Story

January 27, 2008

What is the history of chess notation and how did it evolve into today’s universal algebraic system and for what reasons? In a nutshell, it replaced what basically was many national descriptive systems. The problemists were delighted for obvious reasons pointing out the advantages of each square having a designated name. The literary world love it because it was in essence a universal language all chess players could relate to and thus launch chess books and magazines into the international arena.

A friend at the time of USCF adopting it for Chess Life said he was dropping out of chess if they persisted. He did so. He learned to play using the reading English Descriptive notation and was not about to try and learn a new form. Besides, he said it would cause havoc with readers who would find viewing the small letters confusing. Too old to change his stripes as how he put it! He said that children print and record moves more accurately using capital letters and see the board the same way from either side of the board when recording moves. There are still those who prefer using it to record their own games or enjoy their chess library containing literature in descriptive notation.

You can lead a horse to water but cannot force it to drink.

The history of Descriptive notation progressed over time from the rather cumbersome 1. Pawn to King’s Fourth to 1.Pawn to King Four, to 1.P-K4. Thus, the dash replaced the word “to”. Also, each side counted the board the same from either side. White’s 1.P-K4 could be responded by black 1.P-K4 P-K4, and to add a few moves for further illustration: 2.Kt-KB3 Kt-QB3, 3.B-B4 B-B4 4.P-Q3 P-Q3 5.Kt-B3 Kt-B3 6.0-0 0-0. The files were named after the pieces lined up at the start of play on their first rank and ranks were numbered from each side 1 through 8. In the early days, common was R=Rook, Kt=Knight, B=Bishop,K=King, Q=Queen, P=Pawn. Eventually a big debate over the usage of N for Knight, replacing Kt adorned the pages of Chess Review. The advancement of chess notation rested largely with tinkering innovators mocking the status quo. Other nations have their own symbols too. For example, the German notation adopted my many in Europe was R=King, T=Rook, S=Knight, L=Bishop, D=Queen. These were used in algebraic notation that had been developed in parts of European chess circles.

Advantages of the algebraic system of notation are obvious so far as the literary world is concerned. There have been some problems seen however as with any system of recording. Humans make mistakes. How often do you find a score sheet unreadable? What a headache for organizers who want copies of game scores for publication!

Years ago the USA had a national telephone team league. One of the runners responsible for retrieving and forwarding the board moves wrote down for example e4 when the move played was c4 on the board. Which end got it wrong is hard to say. This error was not caught for several moves until both masters involved realized something was amiss which angered them for having wasted so much time already on the game. How easy it is for a handwritten c to look like an e. Readers not able to see small type very well likely will experience problems with letters like e-c-b-d-h.

No matter what system of recording moves is used, it rests with the players to try and record moves legibly and accurately. One of the best ways to do that is to write down the move you play as soon as you press your clock and likewise when your opponent moves. By definition, one can say that a recorded move is one that was seen played on the board.

Kindred’s Special: Right and Wrong in America

January 25, 2008

Left-wingers love to beat down America and with allies like the media, ACLU, and those in the seats of power due to wealth, international influence peddlers, and those waffling because of poor quality education in many school systems across America always finding fault with the capitalist system that America so far has embraced as the most astute engine for economic progress, I decided to comment on the right and wrong of America and in so doing make an earnest effort to have folks turn on the light.

There are lots of things right in America. We have freedoms not always available in other lands. We can travel throughout the country without passports or checkpoints. We have good roads and bridges with excellent seasonal servicing to assure travelers safety on the highways. Every child and adult have vast access to educational goals. Our airlines provide among the safest travel in the world. Our huge land provides lakes, mountains, park lands where visitors can camp, fish, hunt, ski and miscellaneous pursuits like rock climbing, hiking, and use of various water craft, or just enjoy the beautiful countryside. Our country is blessed with near full employment and in most cases quality education has provided opportunities to enjoy a career of choice, good wages, opportunities to grow, a joyful and abundant family and religious life free of government dictates. Oh, I am sure I have missed more reasons but lets say that what is right about America is finalized by our system of government where the people have a voice through their elected representatives and leaders that periodically pass on their authority to new electees.

Can anything be wrong with America after such a wide ranging assessment of “the good life” America provides? In truth there is the frail balance of good and evil. Americans must ever be alert to keep our Constitution, a gift of wisdom by our founding fathers, and preserve the laws of the Land for, without law, a Nation cannot endure.

Today we face the constant threat of terrorism. Not just the terrorism of Islamic radicals who want to return to the 7th century life style for the world and eventually conquor and destroy all things western as those who study these issues proclaim. However, there is also the threat within our borders of people invading our shores legally or illegally who, in the first case stay beyond their passport time and others who invade our open borders with impunity and hide with the blessings of some employers for financial gain or use of their unique expertise. But more, we have so-called Street Gangs who roam our major cities and are becoming ever more emboldened to spread out to subburbs and rural areas. These gangs present a very real danger and yet because of the ACLU and others like it that blame the cops and other law enforcement and disinterest of the American people concerning the death penalty, our courts, our police, our schools, our businesses–all sit under the gun and violence of a band of ringleaders who, even if captured, are imprisoned where they can continue to grow their recruitment of new gang members.

In a real sense, our America is only as good as those who govern and do so with commonsense and possess real leadership which from time to time has been lacking.

This blog is basically one devoted to chess in the widest possible generalities of our social life in America. Others present various pet projects and interests whether based on political interests, social debates, humor, and other tidbits. So what am I writing about, not so far mentioning chess at all? The truth is in the pudding. Robert J. Fischer, former World Chess Champion, has died on January 17th 2008 in Iceland where he was granted a free place to live out his life. The US Government policy of sanctions against Yugoslavia in my opinion had little to do with Robert J. Fischer. The chessworld was waiting for a future time when he would come back to play chess and this happened in 1992 when Yugoslavia after much effort got Boris Spassky and Robert J. Fischer to return to the board in a rematch from their 1972 title fight. This match virtually shut down the war going on because chess is a great popularity in all European countries and perhaps more so in Yugoslavia where Fischer was considered a great hero. The battles raged on with Fischer once again topping the mighty Spassky by a score of 12.5-8.5 and showed Fischer and Spassky having lost little if any of their prowess for the game. The US Government State Department had told Fischer he could not participate. Fischer ignored that as any professional chess player who plays world-wide has every right to do. Are we living and following in the footsteps of that mighty USSR whose government destroyed many who wished to venture forth and do battle internationally in neighboring countries? Who purposely because of politics or religious beliefs were denied their chance for greatness in the practice of their beloved sport–CHESS? All the historic records are clear; the beatings given Pachman among many others who had family members threatened like in the case of Korchnoi. Of Victor Lublinsky who, because he wanted to play a postal match inorder to improve his English skills and which I had accepted his request as editor of CCLA, found himself under arrest, his family under surveillance, and my own home spied on by KGB agents or by our own government FBI. The US Government had no right to prevent Fischer other than to request he not participate in Yugoslavia to play a match long awaited by the whole chess world! Perhaps it was thought that this match would help deflame the bitter fighting that was taking place and some officials in the world of politics may have wanted to avoid that.

Our history is full of deceit, hate, lies and ignorance. From the American Indian Tribes abuse, being cheated, of having a wild western frontier where much outlawry and murder and some cases of the miscarriage of justice, all in the name of human advancement and establishing our great nation, somehow the good Lord has found us worthy to bless. However, lest we repent of our self gratification mentality, work to find true justice for all, to govern with honor, our nation will eventually go the way of Rome and other great civilizations.

Kindred’s Special: Robert Fischer, May You Finally Find Peace

January 20, 2008

The curtain has finally fallen on the life of Robert (Bobby) Fischer who reached the stormy pinnacle of World Chess Champion in 1972 by defeating Boris Spassky 12.5-8.5.

Born in March 1943, he was destined to reach the top of the chessworld in 1972, to stop playing competitively until 1992, twenty years later, once again battling Boris Spassky where he again triumphed. In a real sense, he was following in the footsteps of the great Emmanuel Lasker who likewise returned after a twenty year layoff to again defeat his peers. I was perhaps one of a few, if any, but did write that he would play again which was quite predictable. Why? Because Fischer had used the same logic of Lasker demands for defending his own title and, being a student of chess history, Fischer would logically follow his menter also in a return to the chessboard.

He has much to be remembered for by a chess public that both adored and hated him with a passion. His antics almost always frustrated organizers, and his super ego to not only win but to make his opponents squirm was legendary. Still, he performed his magic not only on the board demonstrating his skill but had over the years raised the level of chess as a sport worthy of the big time professional status it deserved.

Perhaps Fischer will be remembered for his many US Championships he won, one being an 11-0 crush of the top US talents of the day, success in the Chess Olympiad representing the United States, and his strong desire to advance playing conditions in chess competitions. His spectacular run up to vying for the world title by defeating Taimanov and Larsen with 6-0 match wins and former World Champion Petrosian with 5 wins, l loss and 3 draws to score 6.5-2.5 perhaps will never be matched again by any future challenger.

Fischer was wise enough to patent the idea practiced as a type of variant he coined Fischer-random.

It is a black mark on the historical record of American history that Fischer was condemned for participating in Yugoslavia–a match arranged with Boris Spassky. President Bush’s state department issued a warrant for his arrest for violating the so-called sanctions against Yugoslavia thus making him an outlaw from his own country. Later, he gave up his US citizenship and voiced bitterness toward his homeland and living out his final days never to see his country he fought for in chessic battles that won high praise from a thankful nation. He lived his dream: TO RETURN THE WORLD TITLE TO AMERICAN SOIL.

One might wonder why family and close friends would not have seen the danger signs of Fischer’s deteriorating paranoic behavior, his mental illness that records show a steady progression among all patients. It reminds me that it is so easy to kick someone when he or she is abnormal and to be cold, angry and unforgiving with outbursts that usually are uncontrollable.

How very sad.

Fischer’s life ended on Earth on January 17, 2008 at the age of 64. He left the world of chess a huge wealth of wonderfully exciting and hard fought battles and in a strange way, an almost childlike innocence that questions a parent with one phrase: “Why did you abuse me so?” Shame on America.

Kindred’s Special: Drug Use in Sports

January 17, 2008

It never ceases to amaze me that the whole issue of drug abuse in chess centered around an attempt to introduce chess team play as an Olympic sport. It is the old adage: Once you open Pandora’s Box, beware what you unleash!

Really, I think the only pills that might affect the brain for chess is something like vitamin B-12, and herbs like Ginko biloba extract, Hawthorne, Gotu Kola, Billberry and Rosemary extracts probably with a few extras tossed in. These might tend to aid concentration and alertness in strategic and tactical motifs. But to suggest that these items should be illegal because they enhance brain functions just as milk, vegetables, fruit and other dietary needs for health are absurd.

American cultural society is fast becoming defunct if not already in the tank. A perfect example is the baseball humbug of players using enhanced drugs that build bodies to abnormal levels enabling great leaps forward in breaking all kinds of records. And this is not only baseball but I suspect is part of American sport today across the board.

The national desire for instant gratification, of great leaps in performance, of record-breaking statistics, of mammoth home runs into the upper deck, of players reaching new levels of speed on the base paths, of possible extension of player longevity into their 40s in the pro leagues maintaining top performances is perhaps the one major reason why baseball continues to be an American dream of youth from tots to elders who keep young with such dreams of past memories and present exhaltations of events taking place on the field. And what about umpires who widen the strike zone for certain pitchers? TV really nails them cold and plays where a 2nd base is not actually touched in creating a double-play at times. Close enough should not count. It demeans the game and it also tells kids that cheating is really not so bad if it wins.

 The crux of my debate herein is that we as a people, of our institutional structure for ever advancing greatness in results of our favorite teams, has labeled unjustly the use of such enhancement drugs as criminal if not unsportsmanlike behavior being put on the shoulders of our athletic heroes. It also disturbs me that congregional investigation of these charges is wasted in the halls of our Congressional committees who care more about brownie points while appearing on TV with their holier than thou attitudes to investigate wrongdoing in baseball when everyone has known for years that something stunk in BASEBALL so-to-speak.

But was it only Baseball? I challenge that. Just look at FOOTBALL with the enormous size of some of these players, the great exceleration by many as they race down the field after negotiating through the defense and or carrying two or three defenders several feet before being brought down. How some of these guys cover the yardage they do today is amazing if one goes back and examines games played years ago.

How about BASKETBALL? Years ago a player was called for walking, for touching any part of the body other than slapping a hand that held the ball by an opponent. Today we see players dribble, run three strides, jump, come down and then jump again to slam dunk the ball in the hoop. Really? When I played basketball, that was illegal!! and the whistle was sure to blow that one dead. And we have the scandal of referees aiding gamblers to affect point spread and unjustly affecting the possible result of wins and losses of pro and college teams.

Probably Umpires and Referees are more guilty and the sport establishment more loose with the rules that only make some form of player behavior more acceptable to give excuses namely: “Because it is wide spread and to be able to compete, I have to do it too.”

Finally we return to chess. Years ago it was thought that chess was the only game where the truth of a result lay on the board. That was the supposed code chessplayers lived by. But it was also false. Over the years, games were arranged, they were falsified, prearranged draws to guarantee prizes for both player or where one was paid off for throwing a game to a prize winner. Now it has even entered the realm of computer chess, of listening devices, of bathroom skullduggeries that malign character and throw what should be great matches into the cesspool of chess life.

But should I suggest that the cause of these go to the heart of a mental condition based upon liberalism of thought that only results matter–not character, good sportsmanship and generalship, or respect to honor our love for the sport or interest we hold dear in our hearts.

Human nature is in many ways evil and good. One comedian noted that SAINTS no longer exist today because they of old heard voices and did not have the drugs that would treat such insanity in today’s societies or words to that effect. Perhaps there is much truth in her worded attempt to be funny.

Kindred’s Special: Thumbs Up on Chess

January 13, 2008

Occasionally I have tweaked the nose of the United States Chess Federation (USCF) with good reason and I am always viewing things with fairness. So, when I received the January 2008 issue of CHESS LIFE, I bow to the splendid accomplishment of a truly enjoyable magazine issue from cover to cover! Lets hope 2008 proves a banter year for my quest of helping to make the game more than simply the moves on the board.

In another area, I want to congratulate the Correspondence Chess League of America (CCLA), not to be confused with that of Australia, for another successful year of cc play leadership with instituting needed improvements by embracing modern technologies and for the efforts of my friend Richard Vandenburg for successes in arranging international team matches for CCLA.  Readers of my many columns under the masthead of CL (formerly USCL) titled KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope will remember my supporting the values of playing correspondence chess which domestically is ably handled by the CCLA’s Jerry E. Honn.

Elections seem to be foreign to chess players because neither the USCF nor the CCLA elections ever attract more than a tiny portion of members voting. Thankfully those who do take the time to volunteer or are recruited by nominating committees to run for open offices are at least matched by those who vote and do keep the spirit of democracy and member participation alive.

Those wishing to consider getting their feet wet and want to play in a strong field of entries might consider the upcoming North American Championships run by CCLA. Visit the CCLA on the Internet: chessbymail.com. Also, see page 68 of CHESS LIFE for additional opportunities for cc play.

Support American Chess by considering a donation to the new USCF Patron Program. All donations will be used for USCF projects consistent with U.S. Chess Trust activities: scholastic chess, junior chess, prison chess and U.S. representation in international events.

Mail contributions to Chess Trust, PO Box 838, Wallkill, NY 12589. Make checks payable to U.S. Chess Trust and identify the USCF Patron Program where funds are to be used.

What can the chess enthusiast do locally to boost awareness and promote chess?  Many years ago I held at two shopping malls one weekend at each THE 1986 CHESSORAMA FESTIVAL. It first required contacting the promotional heads of each mall and selling the idea. Each mall felt it was a very good promotional idea: Push Pawns Not Drugs was the theme. I then went to my employer and sold them on the idea, noting that I had the cooperation and support of both malls. My wife and I did all the work; I had many years of old Chess Review magazines going back to the 1940s and made copies of some of the coverage through the years, highlighting important data so viewers could easily scan the materials as well as many picture photos. One viewer from France came up and told me that he was from France and a chessplayer and was taking my idea back to his own club and even made a donation toward our fund to raise monies for scholastic chess and area VA hospitals (both in and out patients)! The next week a scholastic team tournament drew 6 of the area schools to enter. Unfortunately of the 40 some schools sent brochures, most kids who visited the mall said their schools never mentioned it or their teams would have competed. (At that time chess received little or no support of administrators). I got US Master Phil Dorsey to donate his time with multi-simultaneous exhibitions on Saturday and GM Art Bisguier to come on Sunday to give an all day simul at $3 donation a game which raised far more than enough to cover his own fee. Unfortunately while the mall donated $500 to our fund, the businesses refused to let me display our history of chess on their store fronts so they were distributed on the floor around our playing area or propped up against poles and such in the immediate area. I also had a PC set up for kids to use with one of the early chess programs although IBM whom I had contacted refused the opportunity to demonstrate their new PC they were advertising. Well, I was informed by the mall promotion department that it was enormously successful and that over 4000 to nearly 5000 folks had visited the site and we got rave reviews from those attending both malls. My employer (a bank) picked up many new accounts and hundreds of letters hoping I would continue this as an annual event! The raffle, giving away a chess computer each to an area VA hospital and one to the winner of the raffle in addition raised over $1500 at $1 each. To stretch the value, I had ordered many sets, boards, clocks through the cooperation with The Chess Trust where mass purchases made each dollar go much further, enabling VA hospitals to get several sets, boards, and literature as well as many sets and boards to accommodate schools asking for supplies. Readers’ Digest found the idea very worthwhile and donated some really nice books as prizes in the raffle. A special $50 savings bond was awarded for a student prize as well as trophies. A $50 donation by my employer as well as giving me use of their equipment to help with the art work and time needed helped a lot. They were rewarded with many new accounts and business and community thanks.

What support did my chess club give me? I was harshly criticized as being a waste of time and effort and virtually no one helped except a few school chess teachers by bringing their kids to play and one who volunteered to run the team event due to my being totally engrossed in the many needs of keeping things on even keel. Certainly without their support the whole event would have crashed. Subsequently the Community Chess Club President decided to help but wanted to run the event under the club flag and support as a USCF activity. A couple years later the whole project was axed. I got a call from the mall head who said it would help only if I myself ran the event. Unfortunately I was tied up with studies and new responsibilities at work.

This project was for me extremely important because for years I had tried with a few acquaintenances to open the doors of area scholastic chess. Our club had a big group of kids largely evolving from the Fischer boom who had gone on to college and or lost sustained interest for chess play. Yet, there was very little thought about chess other than that it was “just a game” as noted and spoken for our area the famous quote of the female teacher in Searching for Bobby Fischer. I love history and I wanted the kids, their parents, and school officials and general public to come and view chess in a different light–that it had a rich history and was, in fact, more than just a game. I have always felt that school children learn best when they are exposed to cultural development: Science, Math, History, Language, Art and Music.

                          The Rochesster Chess Center (logo)

What emerged eventually from this was the founding by retiree Ron Lohrman of The Rochester Chess Center that he established on Norris Drive in Rochester, NY. Today the entire building of both floors are loaded with chess equipment of every conceivable need and player desire. He travels around the country to regional and national tournaments offering his wares for the chess public. Adult membership is $95.00 a year and well worth it. Tournaments, team play and games like bughouse attract a huge interest. Wall charts, pictures of past and present members, scholastic instruction for after school as well sending out instructors to area school clubs have enriched all aspects of the game and broadened the scholastic programs. Ron is active in the New York State Chess Association as an upstate director, organizer and TD. The excellent results of his teaching program has made his kids among the top in the state.

Kindred’s Special–The Apple Tree

January 6, 2008

I’m so lonely, oh so lonely, I’ve wondered in thought and deed of a long time ago, of the memories and grace of a time past.

Walking hand-in-hand along the woodland path we etched out from our almost daily ventures, the smell of fallen leaves, the breath of new life crunched along snowy steps, mine large and yours so small.

It was the Apple Tree that keeps coming back to me with such fond and loving memory; sitting together and sharing our dreams, hidden from our parents’ view.

Ah, it was a time of bliss, of dreams of future joys! Under the Apple Tree we made our pledge to ever be true to each other.

It was sad the day I learned you had moved, never to return my way. I guess you were too sad to tell me; your parents, especially your dad felt I was a loser because I would never be as he wished me to be. He was wrong. I would prove him wrong about my spirit, character–my being.

Lets face it. I was a loser at most things I tried. My ills had cut short my joys of what most boys love–baseball, soccer, tennis, golf and basketball. But this was after you were gone, gone forever my dearest. Your dad had no right to hurt me so.

The memories are all dear to me. The old Apple Tree still stands majestic and holding in its loving branches those days long ago that we held hands, kissed and enjoyed our long talks about the future and walks along our private pathway.

Life moves on. I learned that after sufferings of losing my joy and partnership of inspired hopes for the future. We were true kindred spirits, you and I. I can only hope you have found your dreams more joyful and abundant than those we shared together, our promises unkept. The unknown miles that had come to separate us, our lives, our hopes.

Your dad hated my interest in chess; it turned out to be a blessing for me. Maybe we would eventually find ourselves going in different directions, dearest, and God provides us with memories, ever so fond memories of youth and dreams and walks and talks.

The Apple Tree helps keep those joyful past times, my first true love forever locked within in my heart.

What has this to do with the game of chess you might rightly ask. Well, it does. It is the time, jerk! It has always been the time! For shame, I apologize for calling you “jerk.” Maybe it was the best of time. (See the meanings in my postcript at the end.)

Time in chess controls has separated me from joy of chess. The politicos who destroy my joy by saying a pawn and King win the point in time forfeiture is absurd even if on the brink of disaster. Here I present a case-in-point!

1990, Game in 30, my rating 2021 vs 2400. My opponent favors the Alekhine Defense that I have mentioned as my having coined it “the desperado defense.”

1.e4  Nf6  2.e5  Nd5  3.d4  d6  4.Nf3  g6  5.c4  Nb6  6.exd6  cxd6  7.Nc3  Bg7  8.Be3  0-0  9.Rc1  Nc6  10.h3  d5  11.c5  Nc4 12.Bxc4  dxc4  13.d5  Nb4  14.0-0  Nd3  15.Rc2  Bf5  16.Nd4!  Nb4  17.Nxf5  Nxc2  18.Nh6+  Bxh6  19.Bxh6  Nb4  20.Qd4 f6 21.Qxc4  a5  22.a3  Nsa6  23.Bxf8  Kxf8  24.b4  Rc8  25.Ne4  Nc7  26.d6  Ne8  27.dxe7+  Qxe7  28.Nd2  axb4  29.axb4  b6  30.Rc1  bxc5 31. bxc5  Nc7  32.c6   Kg7  33.Nf3  Rd8  34.Rel  Qd6  35.g3  Re8 36.Rxe8 Nxe8  37.Nd4  Nc7  38.Nb5  Qd1+  39.Kg2  Nd5  40.c7  Nxc7  41.Qxc7+  Kh6  42.Qf4+  Kg7  43.Nd6  Qd5+  44.Kh2  Qc5  45.Qxf6+  Kxf6  46.Ne4+ Ke5  47.Nxc5  Kf6  48.Ne4+.

Resign please. Please resign! You are lost. Refusal to resign.

48….Kg7  49.Ng5  0-1.  My flag came crashing down.

Memories like this, and among many of similar result for a long time had tuned me out of chess competition perhaps when I had reached the level where I felt I had begun to really mature my sq/count theory, enjoy the intoxication of being able to map the course of a game through its geometric patterns and relish the fact that chess was the noblest of games. Regrettably this game and others left a bad feeling. I really like my opponent herein but somehow I lost a bit of respect for one who cherishes the point over all else.

                                           Story Meaning

Apple Tree is the roots of chess: openings, variety of strategies and tactics. An apple tree has many apples.

Darling refers to chess and life’s walk with it.

“..Snowy steps, mine large and yours so small” refers to energy to progress fast where reality required many small and sometimes tedious steps to master technique.

Dad refers to the often seen negativity and ignorance shown.

“Ah, it was a time of bliss, of dreams of future joy!’ refers to the devotion to study.

Loss of my dearest moving far away refers to breaks in my playing and studying due to a rural life, work, school, service and family where lack of opportunities to compete were both physical and time related.

Much I interwove into such meanings beyond need here. Suffice it to say that this ode illustrates devotion and experiencing the joys that chess has provided me. Time wasted? No; I gained deep insight into life, the few true blue friends and many acquaintenances I met along the way.