Sunday, August 10, 2008

Reminiscences of Chess in the Early 1990s

Chess, to me, was in something like a Golden Age in the early 1990s. I was in college, and lived in the surrounding neighborhood. My interest in chess was rejuvenated--I found players in the local coffeehouses. One of the coffeehouse players, who became a friend, and who died this year, had a penchant for sacrificing his queen. His queen sacrifices were not always sound. I don't even think it was sound most of the time. Another player, self-employed in real estate, founded a chess club in one of the apartment buildings he owned. The amount of space in the chess club was comparable to the Marshall Chess Club in New York. Not only informal games were played but also rated tournaments. This lasted for a few years; the founder, alas, got into a car accident and eventually died. The chess club ended. I and others followed developments in the chess world: thrilled by the attacking games in the Short-Kasparov Championship match in 1993; informed by the strategies and play in the Anand-Kasparov Championship match in 1995; the great veteran and former World Champion Anatoly Karpov scoring 11 out of 13 at Linares in 1994; a new generation of players coming to the fore, such as Anand, Kramnik, Shirov, Adams, Kamsky, Polgar, Gelfand, Topalov, Ivanchuk, Svidler, Morozevich.

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