Kindred’s Kaleidoscope: Upside Down World of Tournament Chess

Reading various chess books devoted to champions of the game otherwise termed, “chess nuts” who follow the trails to do battle in cities far and wide in hopes of playing the grandest game of their life has a long history where passing and no doubt future eras tend to find continued traces of addictiveness.  Chess tends to get into the blood and even for those who experienced it’s lure during adolescence find on occasion a secret desire to return to the battlefield, perhaps as a lark or attempt to rejuvenate some missed passion of youth missed by such absence. In some respects, I think the bond between the famous and not so famous–the professional and the amateur– share the delights of competition.

Fact!  It is difficult to earn a living. For the professional chessplayer — doubly so.  To  attempt such a venture requires sheer guts, and belief in one’s skill; I add another as being spirit driven where mind and body act in unison with goal setting levels toward achievement that depends entirely upon accumulative successes.  Today the numbers game (ratings) largely determine invitations to international tournaments so that the aspiring player must continue to play at a high winning percentage just to remain in the pool of eligibilty.

The single chess professional and amateur can financially absorb the total cost of tournament participation; the married player has financial woes to worry about not to mention arriving home and finding the spouse with hand out for the loot earned.  Often times the professional has to fall back on tours for chess exhibitions if they can even be arranged or add a journalist tag on his hat. For some–the pen is mightier than the sword!

Times change of course.  Go back to the 1936 International Nottingham Tournament which may well never had become part of the glorious history in British Chess had it not been the British Alderman and chess lover Derbyshire.  Such patrons in the past came forth to honor the chessworld with such sparkling arrays of tournaments across the world and thus brought tons of joy to the chess masses.  Even in those cases, it was the willing chess star to compete that brought forth the energies to stimulate locals to chip in time, energies and even financial donation toward success.  This has been the long journey of chess organizers throughout chess history. Every tournament before and since has been built around this common theme.  Still, the prize funds and distributions were most likely to find shortages in the pants pockets of the entry field.

For the modern era player and devotee, things changed largely due to the efforts and demands of Bobby Fischer who fought to raise the level of value to chess professionalism not only for himself but the whole herd of those who were able to keep pace in such a hectic world having uncertain returns.  All the bloodsuckers came out of the woodwork to cash in on the Fischer Boom as it was called by the United States Chess Federation (USCF).  In reality foreign players replaced the top cream of past American Championships as entry permits were based upon an established rating and only the highest need apply.  It was a natural since foreign Grandmasters far outpaced the ratings of American amateurs.  Samuel Reshevsky, Larry Evans, Bill Lombardy, Robert Byrne–just to name a handful of past American champions, left the active playing field.  Part of it, if not most of it, was FINANCIAL. The incentive of esprit de corps of America’s Championship Tournament was annexed by a new breed.

Bitter struggles within the FIDE body for power as well as in USCF where both are slowly being infiltrated within by socialist promotion standards is criminal.  What I mean by that is that the youth movement in chess where kids are taught the merits of self esteem over all else and that every child deserves a handsome trophy for just showing up to participate is sickening to this KindredSpirit. This weakens the morale fabric that was and is American values.

Should I get hate mail from readers, let me just say, “If you can’t stand the heat of truth, you are the problem.” Liberalism as described by Dr. Michael Savage in his radio broadcasts and in his writings tell a tale.  That reminds me.  I wanted to tell you to get a copy and read ABUSIVE POWER by Michael. A brilliant piece of mystery fiction. You will love it; I could not put the book aside until I read it all.

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