Chess is about Freedom–One Man’s Opinion

Dr. Alexey Root, Woman International Master (WIM) interviewed for CHESS LIFE Stephen Moss, author of The Rookie: An Odyssey through Chess and Life, and a feature writer for The Guardian.  Alternating chapters feature his own chess experiences as a player with chapters of interviews with top chess players and chess history.

Moss:  Why was I getting fat, achieving so little, being such a useless husband, father, son? I had to improve, get more disciplined, conquer chess, and by doing so, conquer chess, and by conquering chess, conquer life, become moral and good and on top of things, stop being a journalistic dilettante.

In the stark reality of life, he awoke to the sense of finding the one characteristic common to  most from reading Denker’s   book, The Bobby Fischer I Knew,  defining for himself the sense of  bitterness  about and rebelliousness against inequitable social and economic conditions.  Playing chess was their act of rebellion and to find their own reality…  The author’s pitiful conclusion at least does not coincide with  disrespect seen in the rebellion by a few football and basketball super stars whose sport earns them millions.  However, it speaks to what a few top players and chess hustlers have lamented in print as being their own nature as Bernstein’s query of Woodrow Wilson as to whether every man will have to work. Yes, replied Wilson, to which Bernstein said: “But I don’t want to work.” The fact is that any professional has to work at their profession and chess is just that much more uncertain as to the fruits available.

Maybe that is the difference between American freedom to work and socialism where one is happy just to get grub, short working hours and feeling boxed in with no real future of self-determination.  For the vast majority of folks who achieve success and joy in chess play in the USA, I like to think of our society as one of a host of kindred spirits, of having a love and respect for this noblest of games.–Don Reithel (kindredspiritks.)

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