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  1. 06 Apr '13 14:04 / 2 edits
    My parents had a deck of cards and a set of dominoes, but not a chessboard. They never expressed any interest in chess, even when American Bobby Fischer was making the newspaper in the 1970s.

    In elementary school, when I was eleven, my classroom teacher set aside fifteen minutes on certain days for kids to do “any quiet activity of your choice.” A buddy of mine (now an attorney, the Internet informs me) brought a chessboard. I watched him play a game or two against somebody who knew how to move the pieces. At recess I asked him to explain to me in more detail what moves were legal, and what the basic ideas were. Then I played some games against him at school, and also at his family’s house. I am pretty sure I lost all of them.

    In my high school days I discovered the public library had a dozen books on chess. I particularly liked a couple that were written by Larry Evans. The title of one was ‘Chess: Beginner to Expert.’ I bought a plastic and cardboard chess set at a nearby hobby store and played my older brother one time only, and beat him. I had success against one high school classmate, but not against another classmate. After high school I didn’t play again until joining RHP. I never have been to a chess club, and never have taken lessons.

    What is your history? Who explained the rules to you? Who (or what literature) showed you how to do more than just make random legal moves?
  2. Subscriber 64squaresofpain
    The drunk knight
    06 Apr '13 14:59
    I was first shown the game when i was maybe 7 years old, but at that time I was always wanting to play outside, and showed little interest.

    Now I play chess all the time - partially because I wanted a new game to replace poker (which used to be a 6-8 hour a day thing) and also because I felt that I needed an intellectual challenge.

    Chess ticked the boxes, and so I used many videos (mostly on youtube) and even the odd film and documentary here and there to teach myself how to play.

    I have since started buying books, a proper full sized set for OTB practice, and also an engine to act as my post-mortem adviser (i.e. that move was a mistake, you should have done this etc.)

    All I need to do now is learn not to turn the computer on when I've had a drink 😀

    p.s. it helps even more when you know someone who also likes to play.
  3. Standard member RJHinds
    The Near Genius
    06 Apr '13 21:06
    I knew about the game during my high school years and thought it was something like checkers. I did not learn to play until I was stationed in Okinawa. There, I meet another soldier named Paul Mueller, whose mother sent him chess puzzles from a Chicago newspaper. He taught me the Scholars Mate and the Patzer Opening as one of my first lessons.
  4. Standard member woodypusher
    misanthrope
    08 Apr '13 03:13
    My youngest brother came home from school and was bragging he beat his teacher at chess. The teacher was supposed to be really good. I was 21 and fresh out of the Air Force. He taught me the game and beat me soundly. I think I finally won one after about ten games. The we started breaking even, then I started to win the majority, then all the time. My brother quit playing and I started playing all our friends and anyone else who would play.

    Then one day I saw a story in the newspaper about the Riverside Chess Club. They said it was one of the strongest clubs in the country. This was 1976. Among the members there were GM Larry Christiansen (3-time U.S. Champion), California State Champion IM David Strauss, 15-year old master and winner of the American Open Perry Youngworth, and many other masters.

    Thinking I was good since by then I beat everyone in town (Sunnymead, CA), I went to the club and got humbled badly. I later found out I played an expert. I went home discouraged but started reading books at the library on openings, mates, endgames, and games from the greats. I also read back issues of Chess Life Magazine.

    I went back to the club and almost qualified for the club championship, losing to a 1300 in the final round. I was placed in the lowest section and went 5-0.
    I qualified for the championship every year after that but never won, finishing in the bottom half every time.

    In 1979 I played James K Williamson a 6-game match and scored 3 wins and 3 losses. He was 2-time South Dakota State Champion and had moved out here to Riverside. Overall however he doubled the score on me in all our games. He was a rated expert and after that match I reached my highest rating of 1963, which I matched again later.

    I soon started working for the Post Office and worked the graveyard shift. I got mixed up in things to stay awake and my game went south from there, they eventually becoming non-existant.

    I started playing again recently online. I'm not nearly at the level I used to be, thanks to old age, inactivity, and those other previously mentioned 'things'.

    Been clean now for close to ten years. 🙂
  5. Subscriber sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    08 Apr '13 13:02
    I first saw the game when I was 8, a cousin showed me the moves. That was it for about 11 years, and started up again attending Palomar College in San Marcos California. Got thoroughly whopped time after time and one fellow was really cruel to me after the games, he had an ego problem. So later, 4 years in the USAF, came back and somehow found the guy at a club in Escondido and I whopped him really bad! That felt good! So I later got work in Thailand and had 12 hour shifts fixing microwave communications gear and had a lot of time on my hands.

    I got a few chess books, the one I studied the most was the two volume set by Max Euwe, static and dynamic positions. It took months but I plowed through both books and brought my game up to a high B level with occasional forays into A territory.

    My first real chess teacher was Dennis Fritzinger, a life member of the USCF and a 'warrior poet'. He defeated Larry evans at Lone Pine in 1972. He attained a rating of about 2350 but is now just under 2200 but he is 71 or so, about my age. Still not bad for a 70 yo.
  6. 08 Apr '13 15:45
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    He defeated Larry evans at Lone Pine in 1972.
    http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1434505


    (I was in Lone Pine on my 40th birthday. Didn't know there had been chess tournaments held there.)
  7. Standard member woodypusher
    misanthrope
    08 Apr '13 17:39 / 1 edit
    I miss the old Lone Pine tournaments!

    ...and I remember Dennis Fritzinger.

    There were many young talented chessplayers around back then: Jay and Paul Whitehead, Doug Root, Youngworth.

    They even had a team that played in the team tournaments. They called themselves the 'Wiz Kids', then later the 'Was Kids'...
  8. Subscriber sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    08 Apr '13 19:34
    Originally posted by woodypusher
    I miss the old Lone Pine tournaments!

    ...and I remember Dennis Fritzinger.

    There were many young talented chessplayers around back then: Jay and Paul Whitehead, Doug Root, Youngworth.

    They even had a team that played in the team tournaments. They called themselves the 'Wiz Kids', then later the 'Was Kids'...
    So Dennis was part of that group? I lost track of him after we met in Lincoln Nebraska, there was an Air Force base there in the 60's, long gone now. His dad was my company commander, Lt Colonel Fritzinger. I used to ride around with Dennis' sister on my motorcycle back in the day. She was a cutie! Dennis was Nebraska state champ at the time also. We used to play at the University of Nebraska, in the Crib. (the student union) There were several 2200 + players there.
  9. Standard member woodypusher
    misanthrope
    09 Apr '13 14:04
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    So Dennis was part of that group? I lost track of him after we met in Lincoln Nebraska, there was an Air Force base there in the 60's, long gone now. His dad was my company commander, Lt Colonel Fritzinger. I used to ride around with Dennis' sister on my motorcycle back in the day. She was a cutie! Dennis was Nebraska state champ at the time also. We used t ...[text shortened]... versity of Nebraska, in the Crib. (the student union) There were several 2200 + players there.
    I don't know if he was part of that group. I just remember his name and reading about him back in the day. Very good player.

    Hadn't thought of him for decades...until you jarred my memory
  10. Subscriber sundown316
    The Mighty Messenger
    11 Apr '13 00:02
    My brother sent me a chess set from Vietnam for my 15th birthday(I still have it!). Went out and bought a Horowitz/Reinfeld primer(still have that,too!) But I didn't start really learning how to play until my 1st year in college.
  11. Standard member caissad4
    Child of the Novelty
    11 Apr '13 00:09
    My oldest sister taught me the game at age 6. At 12 I got much better. At age 16 I got even better. At 21 I won the city championship (San Antonio). No time right now for OTB play.
  12. Standard member bill718
    Enigma
    12 Apr '13 15:53
    Originally posted by Paul Dirac II
    My parents had a deck of cards and a set of dominoes, but not a chessboard. They never expressed any interest in chess, even when American Bobby Fischer was making the newspaper in the 1970s.

    In elementary school, when I was eleven, my classroom teacher set aside fifteen minutes on certain days for kids to do “any quiet activity of your choice.” A b ...[text shortened]... es to you? Who (or what literature) showed you how to do more than just make random legal moves?
    My uncle taught me to play when I was 9. I couldn't locate a chess organization however until I was 17.