If I win a tournament, I win it by myself.
I do the playing. Nobody helps me.
Less despairingly forlorned than decidedly fastidious; to abandon chess altogether, to focus solely upon my education, that which broadened across that return to our beautiful game those years much later, that I once chose…
The opposite of depression isn’t happiness but vitality.
Caissa – Little Miss. Scare – All!
…a parting in the clouds of academia appeared one year…a British Airways jet that lifted me through it and above England’s so-called ‘green and pleasant land‘ then followed. That elevation was not singular in form, not just physically altitudinous, especially when it landed because up and down that Californian coastline I then cycled, always below that blazing sun I huffed and puffed, often pausing for that sugary Gatorade stuff, sometimes whilst reading Wittgenstein on those beaches…until that Labour Day arrived unforeseen! Whether purely by chance or perhaps by the endeavors of that persuasive and opportunistic gent who is not only the great, great, great, grandson of the
former President of America Zachary Taylor, but much, much more. That afternoon I met another Philosophy graduate with an eloquent and adoring accent….to say the least! With an ensemble of educated guesses evolving over the years into a preference for a predilection for a kind heart, coupled with such intellect and a pretty face, even the apogee of her Ivy league University were so struck by, not to mention her loving parents and Grandmother too; over that artificial construct now named America, from west to east coast we flew -though not on the same flight- to some place now called New York City, somewhere south of her home state Connecticut. Within that artifice often acronymized to NYC…isn’t it so wonderful to be so very loved by someone so wonderful ? At times it felt like I were won, so completely won that the bliss of a won position was usurped by immense disbelief…how can an impoverished luton boy from a broken immigrant family regale the triumph of victory…I never asked myself that but feel it in every bit of everyplace everywhere, both far and near, far and wide, I did, I did, I did…
…for a week we stayed in the suburbia that
more imaginative less visionary chess players, may assume is the strongest of all –Queens…
So I went to New York City to be born again. It was and remains easy for most Americans to go somewhere else and start anew. I wasn’t like my parents. I didn’t have any supposedly sacred piece of land or shoals of friends to leave behind. Nowhere has the number zero been of more philosophical value than in the United States…and when the [train] plunged into a tunnel under New York City, with its lining of pipes and wires, I was out of the womb and into the birth canal.
Kurt Vonnegut -Bluebeard
Robert James Fischer – Birth, solitude, life, solitude, CHESS, solitude, death, solitude…. “lovin’ you was like”…
Yet each man kills the thing he loves.
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!
Some kill their love when they are young,
And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife,
because The dead so soon grow cold.
Some love too little, some too long,
Some sell, and others buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
And some without a sigh:
For each man kills the thing he loves,
Yet each man does not die.
Oscar Wilde -The Ballad of Reading gaol
The United States is an illegitimate country, just like Israel. It has no right to exist. That country belongs to the Red man, the American Indian… It’s actually a shame to be a so-called American, because everybody living there is a usurper, an invader taking part in this crime, which is to rob the land, rob the country and kill all the American Indians.
Robert James Fischer
I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.
I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,
But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky
Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.
I knew that a historian (or a journalist, or anyone telling a story) was forced to choose, out of an infinite number of facts, what to present, what to omit. And that decision inevitably would reflect, whether consciously or not, the interests of the historian.
Howard Zinn – A people’s history of the United States
Quaint Olde Englishness per se couples up with cute New Englishness…
Feeling ‘flaky’, together, we once walked through the cosmopolitan Washington Square, then sat where those chess-hustlers hang out, some of which emigrated from afar, in search of The American Dream and only the devil knows whatever else… . The GMs there; they play, they win, they pocket money, they socialize, they eat, they drink, they take the subway, they arrive home less loquacious…like their position was suddenly lost: and that’s them, and/or that’s a position resigned long ago some might say…
Obviously, I believe that to pursue the American Dream is not only futile but self-destructive because ultimately it destroys everything and everyone involved with it. By definition it must, because it nurtures everything except those things that are important: integrity, ethics, truth, our very heart and soul. Why? The reason is simple: because life is giving, not getting.
Hubert Selby. Jr
…so that very day, there we saw strangers playing, hand in hand we walked on by thinking nothing at all of them, and I -chess itself. Mean what it once meant must it always? And since when did all that which lies beyond the board, ever pale in comparison? Cajoled I was not, emancipated yet not free from chess I was. Together, we left Washington Square both victorious…no one looked up and saw that…why would they care -but that I elucidated and they could not?
An anti-positional implosion suffuse with asynchronicity…
Wall St. -what a calamity
of epic proportions! ‘Exactly where did Bobby Fischer play?’, I asked myself over and over again, becoming lost within yesteryear whilst more pleasantly accompanied than I have ever been in my whole fucking life !!!! Did Bobby play down that street? Was it that one there? Maybe is was this one? What about that one? All of a sudden Manhattan was no longer perceived as that grid-like expanse sequence of squares, ranks, files that encompassed us we presently stood within awaiting our next move, but more…no not more SO MUCH MUCH MORE SO, stumbling then tumbling into a labyrinthine concussion that only I lapsed into…at that moment I fell and I was not alone…but so very alone. Why then, go search for the solitude that chess ennobles, that which steals from your youth irrespective of your ability? I was only twenty-six. I did not know. All those years I sat for how many fucking hours on end, deafened by that piercing silence that estranged opponent, staring at inanimate objects endlessly as if they mattered more some how. How many years went lost like that and then I stand so very loved by someone so incredibly lovable and so much more, yet so distracted where Fischer may, or alternatively may not, have once been and gone…what a shmuck!
Love is like a game of chess. You’re white. He’s black. You wait for him to make a move, while staring into his handsome, melting-you-on-the-inside eyes, then realize what a dummy he is to not tell you straight out to go first. The beginning is the crush stage. You begin to realize how much you want to defeat him, or make him fall in love with you. By the time you get to the heat of the game, you both moved and are hopefully dating. If you haven’t forfeit then because you don’t want to be cheated on, you make another move- head on shoulder, hand holding, etc. Black makes another move-he gives you his jacket on a freezing night. By the endgame, he either realizes how stupid he was to play with you and forfeits, or he realizes how smart you are and lets you defeat him (and love you). By the time you win, you’re married to him. A happily ever after game of chess.
My Our beloved Alfred Hitchcock, once said “Happiness is a clear horizon”: when less distracted with my hand still held, that urban jungle was not that, our dance through its relentless, raucous traffic, that percussion from those pawns pedestrians always pushing past no matter which fucking street we ambled along through that polluted air that dispersed as a clear horizon widened, and the East river glinted below a subsiding sun, into -as cartographers might say- the oblique suburbia awaiting, and as that oblate train we took sped on loved by the living still, no longer ‘lovin’ the dead I was and how sacrosanct is that…
New York is an ugly city, a dirty city. Its climate is a scandal, its politics are used to frighten children, its traffic is madness, its competition is murderous.
But there is one thing about it – once you have lived in New York and it has become your home, no place else is good enough.
John Steinbeck, American and Americans, and selected Nonfiction
…alighting at Queens, as we left that train an epiphany arrived on the platform: that I was right to live my life more fully, that I was right to leave behind all those
fucking bookshops, libraries, chess clubs, club matches, county matches and depressing tournaments behind where I would try to emulate the play of someone long since passed away for lack of a better idea as well as being so crap at chess…
I was sitting at home and had a profound experience. I experienced, in all of my being, that someday I was going to die, and it wouldn’t be like it had been happening, almost dying but somehow staying alive, but I would just die! And two things would happen right before I died: I would regret my entire life; I would want to live it over again. This terrified me. The thought that I would live my entire life, look at it and realize I blew it forced me to do something with my life.
Herbert Shelby Jr.
I can’t remember its autumnal sunlight, only that moonlight that lit the apt…long before I so rarely played chess in sunlight and never entered into post-game analysis before dusk…did you?
Brooklyn’s finest -Black black black black No. 1…
Yeah you wanna go out
’cause it’s raining and blowing.
You can’t go out
’cause your roots are showing.
Dye ’em black.
Dye ’em black.
Black black black black No. 1
Black black black black No. 1.
Type O Negative
Black and white predominate both chess and what -linked- lies below but the latter contains darker undertones, rich in a gothic macabre with a degree of attention to detail that prevents any chess player from ever being Brooklyn’s finest or anyone else for that matter. What lies below has the potential to change your life more than chess ever can/could/will/would/may/might not…don’t believe me? Then watch it to the end. Then go live your life…
If, indeed, you get this very far into the post, you ought to understand the title better however insurmountable that may be… .
Beauty is such a terrible thing because no one has fathomed its complexity
The images are stills of the fantastic music video linked as well as from MemoryChess on facebook.
Mark. J. McCready