Chess / By Shelby Lyman - The Buffalo News
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Chess / By Shelby Lyman

There is little or no doubt about the attractiveness and lure of chess, but there always remain the few voices in the background to remind us that a fondness for the game can be overdone.

George Bernard Shaw’s observation: “Chess is a foolish expedient for making idle people believe they are doing something very clever, when they are only wasting their time” is jolting, as it was meant to be.

And certainly there are those who would be happy to quote Mark Twain’s “Show me a good billiard player and I’ll show you a misspent youth” while substituting the word “chess” for “billiard.”

But all passions have their hazards and all time in our fleeting existence is “misspent” by one measure or another.

As a friend used to say: “We think we are killing time, but time is killing us.”

But then there are the more numerous chess fan and devotees who are increasingly having their way in our world, if we judge by the apparent growing popularity of the game.

Yes, there are even chess addicts, sometimes proud and self-confessed ones such as Bill Wall, who plays and writes about his pastime with bubbling enthusiasm and a keen sense of fun.

A few of his observations are offered below.

• You know you are a chess addict “if you don’t believe he (Bobby Fischer) is dead, just hiding somewhere.”

• Or if “you calculate 8x8 faster than 7x7 and navigate like a knight – one block up and two blocks over.”

• Or if “you take a chess set and chess book to the bathroom and forget to go to the bathroom.”

Below is a win by Ray Robson against Mackenzie Molner from the U.S. Championship in St. Louis.

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