Archive for the ‘Personal Interest & Experience’ Category

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.”
― Henry David Thoreau

Before I returned to chess I did play in a tournament in Kuwait once. I remember that I enjoyed it very much despite being so rusty.

I found evidence in the video below, at around the 3.50 mark, that despite such a long hiatus I still played 1. f4 [and Rachel, the picture of me @ the 02.50 mark shows me wearing the green cardigan that Al bought me, may he rest in peace].

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“Progress is the injustice each generation commits with regard to its predecessors.” 

Emile Cioran

It’s arguable that chess is on the up in England. Those of us who understand club and county chess exceptionally well can tell you that both of the aforementioned pale in comparison to what they were in more recent decades…

So I visited The London Chess and Bridge centre in Middlesex yesterday. It’s based in a place called London…or something like that. On ‘Baker street’ apparently…

I thought it would be at best dingy and disheveled, full of depressed, lost souls that are far too British in their demeanour, however, that was not the case. It was, in fact, quite the opposite, and in becoming excited by that -just look at what I went and bought!

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The avarice of assertiveness without an ensuing assuredness has struck again. My daughter seized upon her father’s treasured possessions then reeked havoc with glitter! The copies I made of Chess in Bedfordshire, published so long ago (search within the site yeah) have…hmm…but being only 4 years old, Grace, perhaps convinced that a picture really does say a thousand words, depicted our great forefathers, and tbh, I’m not quite sure if she’s got it right there!

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“In everyone there sleeps
A sense of life lived according to love.
To some it means the difference they could make
By loving others, but across most it sweeps,
As all they might have done had they been loved.
That nothing cures.”

Faith Healing -Philip Larkin

Depart here: arrive there. I am about to ‘win the exchange’, to put it metaphorically for ahead is an ascent into the sky by A380, leaving behind a bid farewell to the fragments of a life long since passed, still echoing, resonating into that to come: the resumption of the life I chose, the airline chosen to carry me there, and my child waiting for her father to carry her, therefore, an exchange of locations awaits. I will ‘win the exchange’ but it is not without an evinced sense of sorrow. To cherish that disparate fragment left behind so deeply, I will miss it…I know how I will feel and think during take-off next week: ‘Into my heart an air that kills’…one day next year the Bedfordshire chess scene will feel like ‘the land of lost content’, that I can tell … .

Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

A Shropshire Lad v.40 A. E. Housman

Behold the spectacle of Bedford Chess Club! Before departing I went there to see both it and its members new and old. It was great to thank Mr. Paul Habershon for the help he has given and to be escorted to the bar by Mr. Nigel Staddon, now 87 years old, able to answer the questions I posed. It was also a pleasure to meet Mr. Steve Pike, and have a chat at the bar… in fact I wonder and ask myself did I spend more time chatting in the bar than in the club watching games? All in all, truly amazing it was and whether or not I had drunk cider just before never mattered…not that I would ever do such a thing you understand being on the medication that I am!

Oops! Now where's that delete button gone?

Oops! Now where’s that delete button gone?

At the centre of the county scene flourishes Bedford Chess Club. I was so welcomed, it was so very touching but within my heart a sadness spoke too, it said ‘When you close the door as you leave, you must say goodbye to not just the members but the club as a whole’. Many I met were kind and so polite, happy to see me again. There was much to talk about and part of me wanted not to go but to stay… .

I left the building and there something left me…when the exit door was opened it jarred then splintered through my heart…but I remembered as one door closes another opens, and close it I did…so upon the street I stood alone… .

“Loneliness clarifies. Here silence stands
Like heat. Here leaves unnoticed thicken,
Hidden weeds flower, neglected waters quicken,
Luminously-peopled air ascends;
And past the poppies bluish neutral distance
Ends the land suddenly beyond a beach
Of shapes and shingle. Here is unfenced existence:
Facing the sun, untalkative, out of reach.”
Here -Philip Larkin
There, stood staring into an avenue empty, my brain stopped processing for a split second or two: then I heard the trees arching over rustle in the wind that gusted suddenly, saw the street lights become brighter, felt the pain of ‘farewell’ sharpening, and for a moment I was disorientated. Towards the train station I walked happy but sad, sad but happy as I had an evening so inspired by the courtesy and company of others, and it cannot be repeated… .
To the action… .

In Bedford 3, I offer assistance to Steve Pike’s son at @6.10 then appear!

Farewell beloved Bedford Chess Club…it was such a pleasure, I do hope one day I will see you again…once I have won the exchange (of locations) and played on with a better position…perhaps I will return with my daughter to play also…if I can free us up… .

“Every time we make the decision to love someone, we open ourselves to great suffering, because those we most love cause us not only great joy but also great pain. The greatest pain comes from leaving. When the child leaves home, when the husband or wife leaves for a long period of time or for good, when the beloved friend departs to another country or dies … the pain of the leaving can tear us apart.
Still, if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving, we will never experience the joy of loving. And love is stronger than fear, life stronger than death, hope stronger than despair. We have to trust that the risk of loving is always worth taking.”

Henri J. M. Nouwen

Life moves us on. And on. And whilst at the station awaiting an extortionately priced train to where I grew up, that afternoon of horrendous delays extended long into the evening… . It was then, and only then, that my love of the chess club in Bedford became perceptible as a dissonant fragment of a life long passed by, thus a cynical epiphany occurred. I told myself, ‘what I tolerate, so must my child, as she will endure what I endure’. Crap train service as always, for example. I told myself, ‘If you tolerate this (extortionate and crap train service) then your child will be (the) next (to tolerate this extortionate and crap train service)’… .

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You pretend to what you say you feel
You pretend that you’re something special
All your lies that you hide behind
I see right through you
See right through you

The Perfect Life – Steve Wilson

In the final day, which had two rounds of the Bedfordshire County Championship in May 2010, tragedy struck. In the break between the morning and afternoon game I sat by myself as quiet and deep in thought as always. A close friend called to say that our mutual friend and Irish man Tom O’Grady had suddenly died. His hospital told him his cancer returned and he had five days to live only… . They were correct, he died five days later. Leaving his two teenager sons behind. They lost the father they loved, his family lost a member so beloved, his many friends he was so close to lost a great companion…upon the cricket pitch I had wandered into, there I stood remembering how charming his banter was, the intellectual American lady I knew was much pleasured by his gentlemanly, jovial and captivating tête-à-têtes always within earshot of anyone nearby wherever he was… .

She said “The water has no memory.”
For a few months everything about our lives was perfect.
It was only us, we were inseparable.
But gradually, she passed into another distant part of my memory,
until I could no longer remember her face, her voice, even her name.

The Perfect Life – Steve Wilson

So hurt I remained on the pitch since I was more isolated there, standing towards where the horizon broadened with that which withered and that which did not. Of all people to be taken away…why…why him? I stopped so very hurt knowing he had suffered so greatly for so long…his child autistic and in need of such great care, then of course, the two stabbings in London…was he really the same thereafter? Poor, poor Tom.

We have got, we have got a perfect life – The Perfect Life – Steve Wilson

I could not go home on that day at that time so play on I did. It was my worst game ever. In shock, I never wanted to be there, never spoke to anyone, never concentrated, and stood at the window to stare into the fields beyond so that no one would see when tears flowed from my eyes. I could not try in my game and lose I did. It mattered not. You must never play chess under such tragic circumstances for its outcome can never matter…life itself matters more…R. I. P Tom O’Grady. Good bye my good friend.

Take your pride, take your vanity. Can’t you see that your ego’s empty. The Perfect Life – Steve Wilson

The writer of that below is so talented and clever. You won’t guess what it is about because that’s his style.

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From unicycle bicycle to fire-engine ambulance to grave hospital bed to hearse taxi to glider Boeing 777-300 to grim reaper ferrying me across the river styx a friend driving me from LHR to a decaying homeland the place where I grew up.

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Consciousness has been fundamentally altered by a subversive restructuring which is both oblivious and impervious to time, its motion, and how the present stands in relation to the past and the future given the antagonisms first indigenous then endogenous manifest until they dissipate, no longer contrary, concurring their co-existence is harmonious given that regrowth is both instinctual and inexorable…are you thinking what I am thinking; namely, WFT???

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However, I noticed earlier today that in two weeks’ time I must swoop down upon the chess scene I flew from and snatch victory from he who resigned when last met over the board. Exactly when was that I wonder and can I remember how well I played?

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Thoughts and internal dialogue… .

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Tell me all you remember. Okay, the game commenced in the evening under a darkened sky so that would have been when? Hmm…difficult to be sure (Note to self: check how many times in history the sky has darkened during evening in England…erm given how swollen, mashed, smashed up, almost pulverized me precious bonce still is have that double checked)…oh yeah and we played in a building somewhere. It had some walls and maybe a floor and a ceiling too.

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What was I wearing? I was wearing clothes.

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I know you were wearing clothes, what clothes were you wearing? Blue jeans, yellow shirt, yellow jumper. 

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So not beyond 92 then? Nah, the singer from Faith No More never wore yellow so there… .

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Oh you mean the one you were so impressed by you eventually got the hots for?  Er…given the disbelief that went down at home last month, it might be best that I don’t answer that.

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You were a bit obsessional back then I take it? A bit? If only that were true. In the ensemble of obsessions youth became enslaved by, it was the first thus foremost a rock when two tragedies tore all else apart. When I played my opponent to come, I was so depressed it never mattered if I won, drew or lost because nothing mattered. However I won that night because he got into time trouble and blundered.

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Did you take your opponent’s inside leg measurement as he got into time trouble in order to break his concentration? Huh?????

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Would having thee bonce sliced open then tinkered with once more help bring back every move of the 496 rated games you played before leaving chess to concentrate upon your education? Won’t that help you seeing that the present is disengaged? You what???? Are you pissed???? I suspect a refocusing upon that present, however oblique it has become to that both before and to follow carries greater significance than any moves made a quarter of a century ago given that it is my present ability that will determine the outcome…you should have learnt that before. And anyway, I already told you I won. And I won my last two games anyway?

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Yes but being brain damaged I no longer know what the present is. Won’t that affect matters?

In time you’ll intuit the past and in retrospect you’ll conclude that however gaunt the face which embodied your demise and almost destroyed body and brain is, with its presupposed transcendence vanquished for now and forever more it is indeed what a day when you can look it in the face and hold your vomit. Remember ‘Don’t you touch it’ just look it in the face and hold your vomit. Now swoop down upon your prey and make yourself proud once more.

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Lastly, you are back in what used to be your home, having been left for dead on a pavement, bleeding profusely both internally and externally you are probably quite sad, especially when those closest to you were in tears after the neurosurgeon told them you were about to die and could not be saved…so how will you feel when you play next in Bedford? Hopefully all will be fine but its strange you ask because for many years I missed the comfort in being sad, even when I was content and in complete control. Until I am myself again, I’ll probably pretend I have no commitments, revert back to how I used to be and enjoy the comfort of being sad for a few hours -just for fun!

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Aha, so that’s why your blog has changed so much of late. Okay that’s all, thanks. Glad to hear it. I still have multiple injuries and, as is usually the case, am in pain. Must attend to it. Bye.

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A finishing up, I am indeed in much pain as progress isn’t as cumulative as is hoped for. I must now close my eyes as all is going black. One day I will be free from pain, only then can I look it in the face and hold my vomit. Before then the emancipation from agony is unachievable; therefore, I dare not look it in the face nor roll over and die. I will play on, expecting my options to both disperse but broaden simultaneously, hoping the sickness unto death does not emerge… .

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‘Had enough of reinventing memories.’ Unbeliever -Therapy? 

Admittedly, the path to recovery is somewhat precipitous…

‘Don’t belong in this world or the next one.’ Unbeliever -Therapy? 

Not that its perilous…

‘Wasting every day to my own end.’ Unbeliever -Therapy? 

It’s just that…

‘Feeling awkward feeling clumsy hating.’ Unbeliever -Therapy? 

To avoid further seizures and hemorrhaging, which are likely to be fatal…

‘Everything I’ve ever done before.’ Unbeliever -Therapy? 

There are many things I must do…

Then you leave me like the others.’ Unbeliever -Therapy? 

Great news point number 1: so swiftly I recover so all doctors say…

‘Leave me too much time on my own.’ Unbeliever -Therapy? 

Great news point number 2: understand what they say well I do, although one or two small points I am an unbeliever of there are…

‘All I want is a trance of recognition.’ Unbeliever -Therapy? 

A finishing off: the blog continues and will continue on but should it ever cease, which based on the evidence presented is unlikely, well as stated in ‘Do you differ from the dead?’ you know why… .

‘Your silence is as heavy as my eyes.’ Unbeliever -Therapy? 

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