Time With My Father: Chess & Chess.com

When I was a little boy my father taught me how to play chess. He gave me a book on chess with an inscription that read something to the effect of, For my son, Peter, who will some day be a far better chess player than I am. How I wish I still had that book.

Anyway, he taught me chess and soon we played almost daily and studied the games of chess greats like Jose Raul Capablanca, Alexander Alekhine, Emanuel Lasker, Akiba Rubinstein, my personal favorite, Sammy Reshevsky, and, of course, the new kid on the block at the time, Bobby Fischer.

I became a good chess player. In fact, one occasion I played and beat a chess master, my one and only claim to fame in chess. I am not a good player now. In fact, I am a very poor player. As we get older there is more on our mind and this makes it much harder to clear the thinking-decks in order to concentrate on the game of chess. At least this is true for me.

But I have always loved chess, for the game itself and, of even more importance, it connects me to my father. My father was an extremely good chess player. He was playing me when he was in his forties and fifties and although his prediction that I would become a better player proved true, had I played him when I was in my forties and fifties I would have lost every game.

My father was the only person I’ve ever let beat me. It got to the point where I could beat him every time, and while he never complained or uttered sound nor syllable of distress, I couldn’t bear it, and so, on occasion, would let a game slip away. In fact, I think the games I let slip into his win column were, on reflection, the best games I’ve ever played. My father left the world when I was 15 and as those close to me know, I would give up the rest of my life in the blink of an eye to hug him one more time.

Recently, I began looking for a place on the web to do chess problems. In doing so I ran across a wonderful website called Chess.com. It is best chess site out there as far as I’m concerned. I now gobble up 25 or so chess problems a day, my rating is a paltry but proud 1300 and I have renewed my relationship with chess and, of course, time with my father.