From childhood chess to mid 30s - my journey
I don't remember when I started playing chess but it was certainly before the age of 4. Back then it was one of the most popular sports around my district and people from all walks of life played it - from low lives to intellectuals, from the factory worker to the doctor.
It was impossible not to play chess, whenever I went downstairs to play with my friends some ball games, the benches in front of the apartment block were filled by people playing chess.
I guess people did not have a variety of entertainment back then as there was only one TV channel across the country and even that only aired for two hours a day spewing propaganda.
Chess was a refuge for people, a way to think on their own and to wind off from the hard days.
The elders around were quite supportive of me and they taught me how to play and by the age of 6 I remember I ended a game in a tie with the best player from our neighborhood. By the age of 7 I was a recognized player around and I remembered having dreams about chess moves at that time.
In primary school I used to draw chessboards and play chess games in my imagination. Chess occupied a large portion of my life.
At the age of 9 we had to move to another place and slowly but surely chess was forgotten as I had more responsibilities and with the fall of communism new and varied forms of entertainment that I never dreamed of before.
Little did I know how much I will miss playing chess later on in life.