Saturday, January 19, 2008

in the early 'sixties bobby fischer was in his prime, and i had to be ten years old or less, because i'm pretty sure this happened in toledo, ohio. my brother, two years older than I, was already very interested in chess, so we were allowed to go and see an exhibition where fischer was to play fifty people at once. it was a dark, enclosed kind of place, and the fifty people were positioned around in a kind of square, so that fischer was always looking out from the center, and could merely walk around in a large circle, making one move at a time and allowing his opponents up to about twenty minutes before he'd come back around to make the next one. he'd stare quickly at each board for about a minute, make a move, then move on.

i was much more restless than my brother, and didn't really settle behind any one player, but rather kind of wandered around behind everyone, until something else caught my eye. fischer never looked at me, or even noticed me, even once, nor did he notice my brother, who was watching the chess and eventually settled behind a single player to watch a single game. i guess i was one of those kids who would scream bloody murder if i wasn't given exactly what my brother had, yet, once having it, i usually found i didn't really want it (ironically of course now i've got as sons my second set of brothers, each with an identical pattern)...

i can verify first-hand that his intensity and mind power were exceptional. it's interesting that this genius turned into like a prison for him, or so it seemed, judging by the stuff he said and did, toward the end. on that night, he won 47 of the games, and drew 2; one of those two was the one my brother watched. the last person, apparently, beat him.


Anonymous bruce said...

That was 1964. I think I was 11, you were 9. I forgot that you had been there. Someone wrote a book about that exhibition tour, and Toledo is in it (but they didn't mention the Leverett brothers).

12:21 PM  

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