Ever since I first learned the moves at the age of eight, I loved chess; but I had to love it from afar. The fact of the matter is that I was never very good at it.
My high point was about thirty years ago when I was a correspondence chess Class B International player. In the day before e-mail, I played chess—move by move—using special postcards that I purchased from the U.S. Chess Federation. I had up to three days to formulate a response and send a card to my opponent. To avoid making mistakes, it took a lot of time, up to three or four hours per move once we had reached the middle game. Because of computers, I don’t think that correspondence chess exists any more in the snail mail world.
Now, when I have a lot of time on my hands (which is almost never), I like to go over the moves of famous historical chess games. There are some excellent compilations of these games available from Dover Publications at a reasonable price.
The photo above was taken in our kitchen at 3989 East 176th Street in the Lee-Harvard area of Cleveland. You may notice that there is a parakeet perched on my right shoulder, making me feel very much like a pirate. (It bothers me that I cannot remember, after all these years, the name of our parakeet.)
Notice the string tie.It must have been a school day, because we were required to wear ties to our classes at St. Henry School. For convenience, I usually opted for a string tie. You can also seen the bottom of the cord for our rotary wall-mounted telephone.
I could tell that I was eleven when the above picture was taken because that’s when I started to wear glasses. It made me look very intellectual, I thought.