My first chess set was a plastic travel chess. I bought this set, not knowing anyone that played chess or how to play myself. But I noticed this set had instructions with it as to how to play and I believed it was like checkers, which I had played as a child. I thought I was a good checker player because there were only two uncles in the family that gave me any problems. Later, while in the US Army I won the USO sponsored checker tornament and beat everyone I ever played since. But chess was not so easy to pick up as I had thought.
I had a hard time getting it out of my mind you did not capture the pieces by jumping over them. I kept looking at the instructions, thinking this must be a mistake. I did not learn the truth until my first tour of duty in the US Army in Okinawa, Japan. It just so happened that I double bunked with a young soldier from Chicago that knew how to play chess and his mother would send him chess puzzles out of the Chicago Newspaper. He taught me the Scholar's Mate, the Patzer's Opening and a few other more standard openings. I learned enough to give him a little competition before we left Okinawa and even entered a could chess tournaments there and placed third in one.
This started my love for chess, and then checkers fell by the wayside because I could find no real competition in checkers. I wish I had been able to keep playing chess after my good showing at the 1982 World Open for I think if I had continued playing I might be a master now, but I don't know for sure. I think I am too old and out of shape to make it now, so I just play for fun and the love of the competition of the game.