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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fun with Chess

Pride and Sorrow of Infinia Chess By Mrspock4 . FIISTY: I've been playing chess for over fifty years. A neighbor friend got a small plastic chess set for Christmas when we were both eleven years old. Neither of us knew how to play, and no one was around to teach us, so we read the little rule pamphlet that came with the set (much like Bobby Fischer did with his sister). We plunked the hollow plastic pieces around on the squares with no rhyme or reason, and it seemed strange to use ALL the squares-- not like checkers. The knights moved weird, and we had no idea whatever of tactics or strategy. After that brief introduction to the royal game, we never picked up that chess set again; it no doubt got lost in some old toybox in his attic or garage. It was years later when I met an Air Force sergeant who loved the game and wanted to play with me that I once again started 'pushing wood' around a checkered board. I felt a renewed interest in chess, and since then I learned the hardest way--ON MY OWN using chess books and picking up things from better players along the way. I suppose this is the way many of us learned how to play... Like his dad, Fiisty was eleven years old when I started teaching him how to play. I first taught him the moves, rules and basics. Fortunately, he really liked the game and learned quickly because of that. I started him off on one of the best chess books ever written--WINNING CHESS by Reinfeld and Chernev. He went through that book like a swarm of piranhas on a dead hog in the amazon. Then he went through it again. After his first tournament, he received an 1100 rating by the USCF. A year later his rating had gone up to over 1800, but by then he was already playing expert strength (over 2000). He'd go to tourneys around south Florida, pay his 30-40 dollar entrance fee and almost always come home with a couple hundred bucks in his pocket. (He never won any tourney money, he just picked the pockets of the concentrating chess players around the room!--JOKE :) I remember one particular game playing for the under-2000 section which first prize was around $300. He was playing for the top prize against another high-rated player who'd been playing chess for maybe thirty years. (Fiisty was about 12-14 yrs old during this period. They were already several hours into their game, and since it was the last one, much of the rest of the room was observing. (He was already very well-known as the top youth player in Florida by then) When Fiisty took a break from the board during his opponent's move, he came over to me barefoot and with his much bigger brother's T-shirt cascading down near his knees, and he asked me how much he'd win if he won or drew his game. I told him it was about $100. difference. He seemed calm, almost bored when I asked him if he was nervous. His answer--'NO!, they're all nervous playing ME." He meant it, and I suspect he was right about that. In another tournament he was in an endgame down two pawns with bishops of opposite colors. He would have had to struggle for the draw. Finally, after many moves, his opponent did, indeed, offer Fiisty the draw. When Fiisty refused, I clearly saw the look of fatigue on his frustrated opponent's face. I went outside the playing hall and ten minutes later, Fiisty's opponent emerged with a dour look on his tired old face. Fiisty won the game! I was dumbfounded-- another adult experienced player beaten by a twelve-year old kid in a chess game that should have been AT LEAST a draw. Later that same year, Fiisty beat his first U.S. master, a guy who was ranked # 46th in the U.S. in his younger years. Soon after that, he went on to win 3 state scholastic championships and tied for second place in the nationals in 1988. He also put on a simultaneous exhibition at Palm Beach Jr. College against the top twenty finishers in the Palm Beach County Scholastic championship tourney when he was thirteen. Result: 18-1=1. Mr Carmine Nigro, chess teacher of Bobby Fischer, worked with Fiisty for a few months. He once remarked that if Fiisty had kept playing, he would surely have reached strong master status before he was out of high school. I have to concur with that opinion. Fiisty left the game when he was fifteen years old, after about three and a half years of playing. He's just recently taken up the royal game once again after about a twenty-year layoff. As some of you may have played him here in Infinia, you recognize his style as fast and aggressive with sharp tactics and mating attacks. But he has lost some of his speed and consistency, a bit rusty. But, he is working on that-- :) Here is the link to the Short vs 'Fischer' story: http [:/] / .


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