Heard the Boywonder Fischer‘s death on the radio while driving.
Oh lord .. I found his defeat of Boris Spassky in 1972 was romantic: the Russian champ had a huge team – the all powerful chess machine of the old USSR – attending to him while Boywonder was just about all by himself. It’s very much like Van Cliburn who shocked the world to win the first Tchaikovsky competition in Moscow in 1958.
Those two victories are often talked up as a metaphor for the cold war that the West utimately won. I disagree. Those two professionals are just at top of their games when they won. For Fischer, getting to play Spassky, he had to fight over one Russian after anther, after another. After all, it was the USSR that dominated the chess world.
Ironically, it was also the Russians who came to appreciate Fischer far more than his own fellow countrymen.
Those two Americans, without any assistance from the gov – very American, 🙂 – went on to defeat the Russians during the cold war, had to be the ultimate, most mesmerzing fairy-tales of all time. Unfortunately, Fischer led a sad life, notorious for his eccentricity, while Cliburn lives more fulfilled live in TX, highly esteemed, respected, has a prestiguous competition in Fort Worth named after him every four years.
For certain, music is far more rewarding than chess.
Thought of Yeye who taught me to play Chinese chess, a gentlemanly or literati pursue. It’s a pure mind game that I never come to like. I played to please him, 🙂 .. Golfer taught me how to play chess, and took me to visit Marshall Chess Club and Manhattan Chess Club (wow) while dating.
One Friday after work, he took me to a chess shop in the Village. It’s smoky, manly but not masculine. The store was poorly decorated, oddity circulated in the air (the real chess players are all weirdos, hehehe), drastically differrent from the two clubs we visited. The men’s age varied largely, so were their outfit. Some looked like homeless with unkempt hair, some were clean cut Wall Streeters (miniority). As soon as we entered, a middle aged man came to challenge him. Without a word, he sat down and played. One game after another. Hell, if I had another boy friend or someone to call, I’d have left, :).
I was new in New York, wasn’t too familiar with the area, just remembered that Washington Sq Park wasn’t the great place to be after dark. It was during Ed Koch era. So I stayed by my man like Hillary said in that out dated hairdo – ok, I couldn’t even claim he was my man, 🙂 .. we were only dating. I was totally out of my place and 啼笑皆非, not sure what to make of this. But anyway, I stayed with a fake smile. Wondered if he ever noticed. .. Actually there were (don’t know if there are now, since the clean ups ..) few Russian grand masters playing chess at Washington Sq Park, hustling for a few bucks. Sooooo sad …