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    March 11, 2008 • General

    This past Sunday on March 9, 2008, I attended a commemoration event for what would have been Bobby Fischer’s 65th birthday. The event took place at the Marshall Chess Club from 1 PM till about 5 PM. Much of the first several hours was spent with famous talk show host Dick Cavett recollecting his memories about Fischer as well as some very good footage from the three different times during which Fischer appeared on the show. While watching these clips, I couldn’t help but notice how normal Fischer seemed during these interviews during 1972-73. However, I also found it very striking that Fischer did not seem to have any other hobbies which he had interest in. If there is one thing I’ve noticed about chess players nowadays as compared to then is that most have other interests besides chess, I suspect this is why there haven’t been any top grandmasters who have gone rather insane in the past 10 years. Other notable people who spoke about Fischer were FM Asa Hoffman, Dr. Frank Brady, and Shernaz Kennedy. All of them spoke of Fischer and his days from a teenager till he became world champion in 1972 and about what a different era it was. Although I have a lot of motivation, if there is one thing I really want to succeed at, its to become world champion before the likes of the old generation (Bisguier,Byrne,Hoffman,Lombardy) are gone.

    I’m sure many of you are wondering if I would just spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon at the Marshall Chess Club simply to listen to people speaking about Fischer. After the many speeches and recollections, I actually played a short 2 game blitz game match against GM Leonid Yudasin at Fischer Random Chess. One of the things that I really like to pride myself on is being respectable at anything I attempt to do such as playing all forms of poker, (Hold Em,Omaha,Stud,etc) sadly though I do not seem to be as good at Fischer Random as I am at normal slow chess. However, the only other time I played Fischer Random, I did beat Susan Polgar 2-0 and won the Fischer Random Blitz Tournament at the Millenium Chess Festival, Virginia Beach 2005. In the first game, I managed to get myself down about 2 minutes surprisingly quickly and then overlooked a silly tactic, thus losing. In the 2nd game, I was able to obtain a small edge out of the opening and proceeded to win relatively easily and we split the match. After this match GM Yudasin gave a memorable lecture on the “game of the century” Byrne-Fischer from 1956.

    After this commemoration ended, I walked up to Union Square and was planning to catch a 4,5,6 to Grand Central but ended up in the park playing a game of chess instead. Normally, this story wouldn’t be noteworthy as whenever I attempt to go to Washington Square Park, I am recognized instantly. So, as I sat down to play a game the guy asked “You aren’t some master, are you?” To this question I politely responded that I wasn’t. I made the game semi-interesting and barely beat him with only 10 seconds on my clock, he asked what my rating was. I said, “I’m 1950!” He got rather pissed off by this and said I’m 1700, no way I’m paying up! I decided to not turn the issue into a huge deal, but I found it highly amusing that when I came up with a mediocre rating, it wasn’t low enough to hustle! Apparently I haven’t perfected the art of hustling yet, but I will keep trying.

    Yesterday, I pretty much avoided chess other than taking my daily beating from Transwarp. However, I did spend a lot of time with my brother who is home for Spring Break before he returns and graduates from UPenn and starts working for JP Morgan Chase. Recently, I have come to appreciate family a lot more and this is why I will not be participating in the 2008 US Chess Championship. The tournament conflicts with my brother’s graduation and I have decided it is more important. This is pretty much all that is happening right now, although I am studying some chess and attempting to learn some French since I am traveling to France in two weeks to play in the French League for the team Antibes.


    1. Sad to hear you won’t be playing in the US Champs this year, but I’d probably choose my family over it anyway. If a guy doesn’t recognize you, he deserves to be hustled.

    2. Good call on going to your bros graduation. There will be more US Championships, but graduating from college, to most of us, happens only once.

      As far as hustling, I agree with Dave. If the dude did not recognize you, he shouldn’t be in the park playing chess in the first place. You need to be incognito. That is, wear dark shades, hat, etc. If I was a grandmaster, I’d be making some easy spending money in that park. By the way, how good are those players?

    3. firebrandx

      I have to laugh about the 1700 not recognizing Hikaru. Its VERY difficult to get to that level without knowing several of the faces of GM chess!

      On the subject of Transwarp, I’m considering making a computer account on ICC. My engine is one of the best blitz engines on playchess right now, but that’s almost entirely due to my custom book that I manually update after each game (though I do use quadcore cpu). I’d very much like to get Hikaru to play my engine on ICC so I can start creating book lines to deal with some of the pawn-locking themes.

    4. Great post.
      Nice to see that you are the type of person I would love to have a beer with 😉 (besides in awe of your chess expertise!)

    5. Firebrandx, what’s your handle on ICC and Playchess?

    6. Firebrandx, what’s your handle on ICC and Playchess?

    7. firebrandx

      My handle on playchess is Karbuncle. Currently my engine is rated 2851 against the other engines in blitz. There are a few accounts with a higher rating, but its very hard to get a game with them as they protect their ratings and no longer play blitz on those accounts.

    8. What’s the french league and why’re you playing in it? Who’s the competition, what’re the prizes, etc.?!

    9. fisch ;(

    10. midnight rambler

      Why no invite to the Grand Prix? Does this mean you will have no shot at the world title for years to come? Really wish we could watch you in more top events. Like your style!

    11. timhortons

      have you read the blog of monokrousos? hes discussing things there about you,family comes first!!! youre very human

    12. Phil Irwin

      Thanks for the great blogging. Maybe you need to work up a really, really good disguise and take it to Philly or D.C. Perhaps a feminine wig with makeup and maybe a false pregnancy device for good measure. A “blind” routine could work very well, especially if you’re challenged and asked to turn away from the board. Is there a family dog handy you could enlist as a prop? Keep up the good work.

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