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The human side of chess, 9

‘Why do chess players grieve so much after a defeat?… Because defeat is like a little death’. —Manuel Suárez / Boris Zlotnik What to do after defeat None of the chess fans I know knows that mastery of the game is due to factors that have nothing to do with his will. Only in a…

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The human side of chess, 8

5 Tort – Computer HAL 9000 and man I didn’t play this last game with a human being. When I play with my computer it seems as unequal a struggle as competing in arithmetic with a calculator. As mathematician John von Newmann told Jacob Bronowski, chess is not a game: it is a special form…

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The human side of chess, 7

4 ‘The Russian’ – Tort In pursuit of a metaphorical king I played this game in a tournament of the Ibrahim Martínez club in the Colonia Roma in Mexico City: a neighbourhood that Alfonso Cuarón made known to the world with Roma, a film that I have criticised on my website The West’s Darkest Hour.…

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The human side of chess, 6

3 Tort – Norgaard Fuck chess! After playing three months at Club Mercenarios, this was the first time Jesper Norgaard, a Dane who fathered children with a Mexican woman, lost. In the end, everyone shook my hand, which filled me with satisfaction, especially the congratulations from Héctor Busto. Even the now deceased Ricardo Ramírez Honey…

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The human side of chess, 5

2 Tort – Colín The park that welcomed me This game was played in the park where I played chess in the Colonia del Valle in Mexico City, very close to where I lived with my grandmother. This park welcomed me in my teens when I fled from extremely abusive parents and school. It was…

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The human side of chess, 4

1 Grushka – Tort A beautiful game If I kept this game it is because I showed it to the poet Jaime Sabines in a 1981 letter, a copy of which I still have. I had played several games of chess with Sabines at his house. In times when my parents’ treatment had spoiled my…

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The human side of chess, 3

‘Psychology is the most important factor in chess’. —Alekhine In pursuit of a metaphorical king This booklet is not only written for the hobbyist. If you are not a chess player, you can ignore the algebraic notation of the games that appear in this chapter and read exclusively my literary comments. I will be told…

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The human side of chess, 2

Introduction When I sat down to write this book, I was officially retired from chess. It was the talks with Rafael Martínez, an old friend from a park where I played chess many years ago, that motivated me to confess what I have thought about the game since my retirement. (Left, in 1975 outside of…

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The human side of chess, 1

Preface of 2021 Although I have been a chess fan, I have only participated in one tournament duly endorsed by the International Chess Federation (FIDE in its French acronym) in 2004, which gave me a provisional rating of 2109 (the current world champion’s rating is 2847). However, after my racial awakening I cannot see my…

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A metaphorical king

Left, the American Paul Morphy (1837-1884), who should be considered the first world chess champion. Bobby Fischer, the other American champion, would officially win the international crown in 1972. For translation into English, I am reviewing En Pos de un Rey Metafórico (literally, ‘in pursuit of a metaphorical king’), a brief book on chess I…

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