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My introduction to chess

August 9, 2013


A year or two back, my younger daughter gave me a present, 'Dear Dad, from you to me' , one of those gift shop gifts which are very well intentionedy, but, alas, time is so short that they can often gather dust and never be completed. I decided a while ago that I wouldn't let this happen, and would aim to complete it for Sophie, Alice and Tom, so whenever they want to, they could find out a bit more about their Dad. So, I have set up a private blog, to which only family have access, and have been posting to it during our summer 2013 holidays. Many of these postings are personal, and best kept private for the family only, but those which are less private will also be posted on my main blog.

Chess has, as you know, been a defining part of my life. It gives me enormous pleasure and satisfaction, and I have been lucky enough to travel and meet lots of people through it.

I don't know precisely when I learnt, but I do know how and where. My best guess was that I learnt to play chess in 1971, aged eight or nine years old. My brother was playing in our dining room, with a friend of his, who (alas, the names which follow are just a sign of their time) we called either Paki or Abdul: I don't know whether Abdul was his real name; I do know that I had not the slightest of an inkling that there was anything wrong in what we (and everyone else) called him.

I stood by the dining room table, and watched them, and picked up the moves rapidly. My first opponent would certainly have been John (Dad didn't play). I believe very rapidly, instantly perhaps, I became better than John. I bought a couple of books (which I still have) and borrowed countless others from the library.

The following summer was the biggest ever in world chess history: the Cold War world championship match between the Russian Boris Spassky and the American Bobby Fischer. For a brief period, chess was massive, and I was sucked into the game, a child of the Fischer boom. In July 2012, I had to go to see his grave in Stelfoss, Iceland.



One Comment
  1. johnbeardy permalink

    There was another friend teaching me. Steve Haworth? But I must object to “instantly” as I can’t have Tom Alice and Sophie thinking I am quite that stupid šŸ˜‰ . “Too soon for my comfort” would be how I’d put it!

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