Return to Chess After 44 Years

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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The Sponsored Post Brigade

I’m not sure what’s going on with this blog, and my verified Facebook page, but over the last few months, I’ve been getting lots of requests — more than usual — to add paid links in my old articles as well as being offered “thousands of dollars” to post advertising on my Facebook page.

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Holidays of Exclusion

It is important to belong. You often belong to others. Sometimes you’re forced, for a moment or two, to belong only to yourself. We appreciate the self-defending, but that’s usually a private affair. Public belonging is an important part of the rituals of society. There’s nothing worse than being invited to a party, or a celebration, that ends up not including you. Jews are left out of Christmas. Christians are left out of Chanukah. Formal national and religious celebrations are both inclusionary and exclusionary — all by dreary design. The list of official holidays in the USA is getting to the point of unfortunate ridiculousness, rendering all events meaningless in the mess.

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ASL and the Deaf Culture Appropriation of Apple Fitness+

I have been a big fan of Apple Fitness+. However, after completing the workouts for a several months now, I have come to the uncomfortable conclusion that Apple’s misuse of Deaf Culture — in particular, ASL — in their workouts, is a disengaging, and phony, cultural appropriation intended to falsely imply inclusion, when the real aftereffect is a complete failure of meaning. At the beginning, and at the end of almost every workout, but never during a workout, the non-Deaf, and non-ASL fluent, trainers toss in a little ASL sign — a gesture, really — like “ready” or “welcome” or “thank you” and it just comes across as clunky; a falsely sprinkled twinkle on a star. Those throwaway “ASL” signs do not fit the spoken words of the trainer, or even really the intent of the class — they’re just movements intended to appease, and impress, and to not really communicate any emotion or context. Apple uses “ASL signs” as a winking trinket without the inherent value of a cultural totem or the magic of a talisman.

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Three Wednesdays in January

In 2021, on three consecutive Wednesdays in January, in a trium of blood-bound events, we survived a catastrophe, we served a correction, and we held a celebration. Democracy is, at times, a gory and brutal mess — an angry boil in need of lancing — and sometimes in need of a realignment of values based on the witnessing of a live horror, in real time, as we are confronted by the monsters some of us have become in the lighted dark of day.

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