Kindred’s Farewell Address

Often times I wonder why I take such stock in chess that 61 years of experience, enjoyment of historical research, of humorous tidbits, and really consuming a life long interest in the decades that marked various periods of the rise and fall of so many chess stars, some due to death, others to a waning interest or skill, of friends and associates who always provided the joy of a hard fought chess battle, of support positions and leadership roles purely to further the opportunities and development of a better chess community for America. In this, I started my blog devoted to chess or having chess as a basis for looking at the world we live in with the hope that chess kids and adults alike would enjoy my lessons and commentary on the passing scenes through time including current and future life experiences– all from KindredSpirit’s having been there, witnessed or delved deeply to ascertain the differences seen in fact, fallacy, and folly of a colorful history.

At age 70 and due to my deceased doctor’s warning (yes, I outlived him) to drastically curtail my own chess adventures over-the-board due to my nerves unable to take the faster time controls, it had seemed logical to me to pass on my experiences, such as they are, using the tools of the internet that caused me to start this blog on wordpress partly in a desire to continue the columns that I wrote for Chess Live and mainly for the consolidated World Chess Live members and chess enthusiasts round the world.

Being insulted on the WCL club by even a few who feel my credentials for instruction due to my low rating has finally convinced me to say adios. Just for the record, my low ratings are due mainly to playing games with members intended to give them practice and apply various levels of skill from making weak moves inorder that they may develop their prowess and attacking technique. It has always been my way of building confidence and interest in chess. No better way to kill interest than to tell some youngster to give up chess because he or she stinks at the game.

I have no interest in chess ratings. I know most believe the rating is next to holiness but I have only had one interest throughout my chess life regarding ratings. The purpose of the rating system for me was to provide good tournaments and afford the tournament director a fair and equitable means to pair players. A rating is a numerical means to establish the relative playing success and skill among the group as a whole. But I would never accuse someone that his or her rating has anything to do with ability and talent.

When I was a Chess Advisor on the CL, BOTM matches with other CAs and our commentary given during the match along with my own skill level proven to be high expert requires no comment to such ignorant folks who hurt me so. Thank you idiots.

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3 Responses to “Kindred’s Farewell Address”

  1. Christine Says:

    What happened?

  2. Al MacLeod Says:

    Greetings Kindred Spirit!

    I hope you are still receiving emails. I wrote to you earlier today in order that you could give me a clue on how to find an old chess friend of mine from years past. Perhaps for some reason (the forum where a Barry Foster was in as I mentioned in my earlier post) I thought you might be British and know him or know about him, and therefore could help me to locate where he is living today.

    I suppose I have not used to Internet much insofar as chess goes. I. like you believe my “rating” (unofficial) to be around yours-from high A to high expert-it fluctuates. But, also like you, I couldn’t care less about what other people think about my rating. I have, from time to time played on the MSN Gaming site just for the love of chess and nothing more. My highest rating there was around 2080 or so and lower as well-but frankly speaking-it’s all relative as they say and I can just as easily defeat a Master one day as I have over the board in my younger days just as I can lose to a 1300 or 1400 player. It’s the game and the knowledge you can depart or share with others that is much more important as you pointed out so well in your post-and yes, chess teach a great deal about life as you also stated.

    As for other’s comments-I have never Ever taken a comment about my chess rating being a “low” one serious after a day I shall never forget back in 1977. I was the night manager of a well known hotel and on duty on the fateful night Bobby Fischer walked in-just like that! I would like to write about that night and the conversation we had-and even an amusing story that goes with it. When I told Bobby that I was a chess player also he suddenly lit up! It was amazing-as he literally jumped up and down and kept tapping men my shoulder asking-“What’s your rating man-c’mon- what’s your rating”! I thought-“Oh No”, here I am a C rated player as the rating lists still showed but was actually much higher as the ratings were frozen for nearly a year or so if you remember because the USCF was having some kind of problem or transition in the ratings during that period.

    Whatever the case I thought to myself after hearing the question the Great Bobby Fischer asked a low rated chess player like me-“When he hears that I am only a C rated player is he going to call me a fish”? Haha–Anyway-Here is what happened. I simply said “I’m only a C rated player Bobby-and he lit up even more-slapped me on the back and said-“That’s Great Man-That’s Great!! And our conversation from that forward on was even more animated and even intimate as to his plans about his future in chess.

    I realized then that the Real Bobby Fischer loved chess players-All chess players-and at that stage in his life wanted to relate Only to chess players as that is all he related to mostly at that time. Ratings didn’t mean a thing to him and I realized all the talk about lower rated players or “Fish” as he called them was only a ploy-a way of getting into the head of “The Enemy” so to speak (mostly the Soviets of course)-and like Muhammed Ali he was Very Good at it! I met the “Real” Ali several times and spoke with him-Like Fischer he was down to Earth (and Bobby was too when I spoke to him-quite an intelligent person actually-no matter what Brady or any other person has written about him to make a buck-but having said that, seeing his personal tragedy unfold in later years was quite upsetting to say the least.).

    From that day forward if anyone thought my rating was “low” it didn’t matter-nor did it bother me in the least-as perhaps the Greatest Chess Player of all time actually said “That’s Great” to me and with enthusiasm when I told him what rating class I was in,

    Like you, I also had a special place in my heart for the younger players and when running a chess club I was asked by the parents of the triple great nephew of The Great President-Teddy Roosevelt to tutor their son in chess which I did. In fact, I considered it an honor to do so. I, like Spassky, who admitted that he purposely made inferior moves or lost a game on purpose to make the other player feel good, and I actually did the same with this young boy whom I thought had a great deal of hidden talent. Sometimes my moves were just barely inferior enough where he could exploit-and not too easily. I did that in a way not to hinder his chess development and only when I thought it was necessary to do so as I saw him losing interest at one point as all young people tend to do at a certain stage of chess development. Later he developed into a much better chess player by much better teachers than myself-but I will always glad that I was his first chess teacher.

    I liked what you wrote in your post- “But I would never accuse someone that his or her rating has anything to do with ability and talent”. This is very true as you and I both know. So please don’t let those kind of things get you down as it really doesn’t matter what others think (except for Bobby Fischer of course!). I suppose I have entered the senior club as I will be 61 in September. It is nice to read that you are a gentleman who is not that much older than me and we are both-“Old School” (my friend Barry Foster who I am trying to locate is around 70 or 71 years of age for example) as they say. I too have some medical issues and at our age we don’t get mumps and measles of course. I had thought that the post you made saying goodbye was your last but am happy to see that you are back at it in 2011! I have gone through a bad time medically speaking this past year-improved-then relapsed a bit with more tests underway. Like chess, it’s a struggle, but we must keep fighting the Good Fight as I see you doing as well. Hang in there friend (I don’t even know your name but that’s ok-as long as you are a fellow chess player!)

    Best Regards,

    Al MacLeod

  3. Al MacLeod Says:

    PS- I forgot to add in my last post that I thoroughly enjoyed your post about former President George Bush!-Al

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