I retired from chess in 1977 at the age of 12. I wasn’t a pro player. I wasn’t in any tournaments. I was just a kid in Lincoln, Nebraska looking for a good game. I was studying the game eight hours a day every day of the week. I was the 7th Grade self-crowned King of Chess at Robin Mickle Jr. High School until, that is, I cleared a chessboard of its plastic pieces while I thought I was playing a friend in Chess — until others in the class started to line up next to him, giving turns advice, and warning him against my traps — and I ended up playing the entire class Over the Board (OTB), even though we had a strict “no kibitzing” rule that, I guess, applied only to me. If I had been clearer minded, and perhaps a bit more mature, I would have taken it as a compliment that it took 28 other kids to give me a good game; but, back then, winning was everything, and resigning with a dramatic sweep of the arm across a chessboard was just too tempting to ignore. 1972 was a great year for Chess when the world turned, and it was still spinning in 1977. Bobby Fischer beat Boris Spassky for the World Championship in 1972, and the Cold War was Hot again! Now, after my retirement in 1977, 44 years later today, I’m back in the Chess game by demand of dying age, and wondering spectacle, and next I’ll tell you more about the why of it; and I’ll also explain the story behind the curious board setup you see below. Chess, the ancient game, changed a lot over a half century!
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