World Championship

In 1972, I followed the print media reports of the Fischer-Spassky match in Iceland. I was still a beginner at the game, so I didn’t really understand the moves I replayed that summer with my plastic pieces on cardboard eight-by-eight.

Six years later, my college buddies and I followed the titanic Karpov-Korchnoi struggle and I understood a lot more of what I was seeing in the newspaper reports. My friends and I were rooting for a man we had met the previous year. After Viktor Korchnoi defected from the Soviet Union, a 1977 American tour was arranged, and our University’s chess club partnered with a few student organizations and the local chess club to bring the man to give a talk and play forty of us at once in a simultaneous exhibition.

The 1980’s saw the heat ramped up in battles for the world chess title. I ceased tournament play by then–grad school and work calling. I lost interest in top-level chess. For awhile, rival organizations propped up different champions–like heavyweight boxing.

One of our grad students has rekindled my interest in chess. At least as a spectator. In the internet age, we can watch chess matches unfold live online. Having a view of the actual players is irrelevant. Watching the struggle between pieces on the board is fascinating enough.

Despite the 3:30AM local start, I enjoyed game three of the current world championship being contested in the title holder’s home nation. I missed game four–in the last century, they gave players a slower pace: three games a week instead of two days on, one day off. I tuned in this morning only to find the game had been played yesterday.

For chess fans, it’s really the best of times.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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