The Royal Game

In recent months, I’ve started taking up one of my on-again, off-again passions seriously: chess.

I started playing very young; I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know the rules. Growing up, my usual outlet was in reading my dad’s chess books and getting trounced by him in over-the-board play. In my adult life, chess became an occasional diversion. I taught my kids, and played them occasionally, and would sometimes check out new books or play around with portable electronic chess games.

Now I’ve decided to take it a little more seriously. I’ve gotten involved in the local chess club, and joined the US Chess Federation so I can play in tournaments. (You can even see how I’m doing online.) I’ve also joined an online chess site,, which does online correspondence chess. And my wife has been very supportive of all the new equipment purchases and gift requests: a chess table, new set, clock, books…

And, wonder of wonders, the chess world is quite an interesting one, with stuff going on. Unfortunately, a lot of it has been negative of late. The great champion Kasparov has retired from chess (a real loss; his play was some of the most spectacular seen since the Fischer-Spassky championship match in 1972). The world championship has reunited, but under a cloud. Cheating allegations have multiplied since then. Both the USCF and the World Chess Federation (FIDE) have been mired in controversy over leadership issues.

So, it looks like there should be plenty to blog about, both of a personal nature and in general chess news. I have a long road to walk; my current provisional rating after two tournaments is below 800, which means I get beaten easily by talented children. But it should be fun, and should keep my mind sharp, neither of which are bad things.