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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2020: The Year of Disremembering and Disassembly

2020 has been a year of contemporaneous contemplation hanged by the bridle of dismay. We have been forced to leap from the cliff, together, Zombie-like, from crisis to crises. We drowned in foolish Tweet after Tweet and now, as a new horizon presents itself to us for celebration, and referral in 2021, we cannot stop but to hope against the losses we served, and the punishments we received, over the last four years.

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The University Does Not Belong to the Student

We all want to belong to something. We want to feel we are not alone. We want to believe we are part of a greater whole. However, there are some who believe the world, and its hallowed institutions, owe them more than due respect, and contrived honor — they believe they are entitled to not just set an agenda, but to rewrite the future plans of us all for their benefit alone.

Students protesting university policy is ordinary, expected, and commonplace. Students want to test boundaries, and to stretch their intellectual capacity, and to learn where the levers of power belong in an arc of a history that existed before them, and that will, and shall, extend to outlive them.

All of that is fine unless, and until, the student tries to takeover those levers of power to do specific damage to another student, faculty member, or the institution itself.

The university does not belong to the student. The university belongs to itself.

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Calcification of Sorrow

Life is about letting go, starting over, and grief on the way to the grave. In between those monumental stations of human being, we endeavor to find contentment, discover joy, and save friendships from perishing. Here is how Vincent van Gogh drew to know sorrow in 1882.

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1984: Murder in F-flat at the Daily Nebraskan

1984 was an interesting time to be alive, because you felt, every day, as if you were living in the George Orwell novel of the same name. Reagan was president, and the world seemed to be collapsing around you — likely just as many of us feel today with another, repressive, Republican president. 1984 also happened to be the year I started writing for the Daily Nebraskan — the school newspaper for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I was a Sophomore in 1984, and I was writing a weekly, serialized, novel called “Murder in F-Flat” — in the wake of Mark Twain, and others like him — and the effort was curious, odd, joyful, frustrating, and purely delightful.

1984 was the dawn of the Personal Computer Age, and while we could save electronic copies of our writing, the work was stored on a fragile 5 1/4″ floppy disk that was kept in a sleeve because its magnetic surface was exposed to the elements. You wrote on the computer, printed out your articles, handed in the paper, and an editor retyped what you wrote into their computer. Yes, you saved what you wrote, but retrieving it later, was an issue then, as it is now; so when I discovered yesterday that the Daily Nebraskan archives for 1984-1987 were now online, I pounded my memory to try to remember when, and what, I wrote in 1984; and the key to the memory trick was my 1984 September 28 pay stub from the Daily Nebraskan. I remembered a check was cut for us every 30 days and each article paid $10.

My search began, and ended, in money — and now I present to you what I was able to find — four FIVE installments of “Murder in F-flat” by Dave Boles! I think a couple of episodes are missing from the online archive; I will keep an eye on that Daily Neb portal, and if the other stories flash into the now from the past, I will dutifully update this article! If you prefer a larger version to read, please head over to my Boles.com Periodicals Archive.

August 22, 1984
(UPDATE: 5-31-10 — I found the first installment!)

August 31, 1984
Too bad you can’t see the whole graphic logo for the column — and today, you’d never want a graphic byline, because your name would never index online as text — “Murder in F-flat” is stylized, and hand-drawn, and I wish I could remember the artist’s name. I just realized now, the pen doing the writing, is being held the wrong way, and is actually stabbing me, the author, in the chest. Murder, indeed! The opening reference to “last week” tells me at least one previous episode installment is missing, so we’re leaping into the story mid-stream.

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Notice of Civil Rights Violation

U.S. Department of Education via Fax

I am writing to inform you of a Civil Rights violation that occurred on the campus of LaGuardia Community College on October 15, 2016, and was sponsored by the LaGuardia Program for Deaf Adults, Sorenson Communications and the U.S. Department of Education, as a “Deaf Self-Advocacy” seminar.

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