I discovered chess when I was in high school. It was in math class where I saw fellow classmates playing chess during break time. I knew of chess, the game, but did not play. But, because those playing chess were the whiz-kids, I got to thinking if I could play the game I would know if I could even beat them in the game. Chess did not require having good hearing.
I bought a book about how to play chess and read it from cover to cover. I applied myself to study the game and understand the rules. When it began to make sense to me I went back to that math class and when an opportunity presented itself, I asked if I could play. After defeating them all, I felt, for the first time, that I had some worth or capability. This is because school was always a struggle for me, being hearing-impaired, and I did not have good grades. No one would have thought I could beat those math-whiz kids in chess.
It encouraged me to do better in school and keep working at the game of chess. In college I joined the chess club and became their number one board. Success, of a sort, in chess gave me the confidence I did not normally have. I was not one to make a professional career in chess, but I continued to play the game. Years later I won the chess tournament at my work place, defeating everyone including my future boss. It may have even helped me get a promotion to a better job. My only claim to chess fame is losing to two Grand Masters. I lost in a simultaneous event against GM Bisquier and I also lost in a postal game to GM Lombardy. I am not that good, but I did enjoy the chance to play against GMs such as they. Their recent deaths this year and last is what reminded me of my old days playing chess. They devoted their lives to the game and it was their career although Lombardy later became a priest. Both had an opportunity to play at the World Championship level. They were that good, but were eventually eclipsed by the famous Bobby Fisher.
My life went in a different direction. I married and after 40 years working for one company, I retired with a sufficient pension and life-long savings. I did not get many chances for promotions, but I applied myself and always did my best for everyone. It was more important to set aside time to maintain the faith and keep working for God’s purpose. For the moment, that includes writing a blog. Hopefully I will be more faithful to blog writing. My wife went through a period of unknown health problems. The doctors finally found it and fixed it so now we can breathe easier and find the time to serve God, each with our own gifts.
Oh yes, the picture is from a Mediterranean cruise at a stop on the island of Malta. But, that’s another place, another time, and another story to share.
Romans 4:4 “When people work, their pay is not given to them as a gift. They earn the pay they get.” (ERV)
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (NET)