I Don't Care
The little green, leaf like bug that has been in my ear, my whole life. It's been twisting me into a knot at all the wrong times; emotions. Because the game mattered to me. I took it personally. I took it as an affront to my intellect when I lost or was in danger of losing.
The worst of it is I sucked at playing the game. Oh, I understood the basics: pin this, spear that, double check here, there a check, here a post. And I loved watching with wonder the great masters. I remember going over the daily newspaper (remember newspapers?) print outs of Fischer v Spassky, with astonished wonder at the dance of the pieces. Understanding little of what I saw, but loving every moment of hanging pieces and wild romantic attacks. And then, finding out that Tal was Tal before Fischer was Fischer.
And over the years I read and studied books and then computer games and then became a life member in the USCF when I finally had the money. And the months and years and decades passed. I never really got much better. It never bruised my ego any less or failed to dampen my spirits as each king fell.
Then, a little over a year ago, I joined chess.com . Then about 2 months ago, I listened to IM D. Pruess' Tactical Geniuses articles. And boom! The lights have come on. At least, I fully understand those things which I do not know. I get it! I am a blind man in a sighted world. The bug that has been squirming in my ear all these years has come out. Like the little fellow pictured here. I came across him on a walk in the woods. Looking for all the world like a fallen leaf, he wiggled fiercely across the dirt path. Like those vague hints of talent I have shown in years gone by in our game. A few good OTB tournaments here and there. A postal draw against Reshevsky is in the books. Mostly through luck and shear blunt force calculations. But without understanding the how and the why.
So now I know. I know that I tend not to see all the pieces on the board. I know I lose track of where the lines run, due to my ever failing eyesight. Or I see a single quadrant of the board and the other three-fourths have disappeared from my brain. Or the pawns become fixed as if with 16 penny nails, holding them in their spots, keeping me from seeing how easily they slide forward to crush me with a fork.
But now I know. And though I flush at the wasted years of squandered hours, at least I know. There is finally a way forward. And with that and the thousands of games I have played here, I have learned to let go. I have learned to enjoy someone else's well placed knight. Or to be blistered by a well coordinated attack. I see they have the right to enjoy my downfall under the weight of their well timed onslaught.
I have finally reached for the right piece of my soul.
I no longer care.