Apr 3, 2011, 6:12 PM |



         If my calculation is right, it all started precisely twenty four years ago at the age of 16. Having taking so much interest in reading sports stories on the pages of newspapers, I came across names such as Gary Kasperov and Anatoly Karpov. (Those were the only chess players I knew at the time) and how they competed against each other in various chess championships. From my initial perception of the sport, I felt it was more of a psychological board game. I began to imagine how it looked like, especially when I was yet to see a chess set with my two eyes.

         6 years later when I was in high school (or what we call secondary school in my country) I had an overbearing urge to join a chess club. However, my apparent lack of mobility prompted me to shelved the idea. The chess club meeting was held at the top floor of our school building and my being on a wheelchair was enough reason not to join the club.

         For the next seven years I had no other contact with chess until I was introduced to a certain lady who brought a chess board and practically taught me the movement of each piece and pawns. Therefore, I began to play the game but without much interest attached to it.

         The turning point however came a few years later when a friend of mine approached me and told me to teach him how to play the game. First of all, allow me to confess that chess is a sort of game I only associated with the elite class, particularly the educated. My notion was that if you are not educated, chess is certainly not for you. Fortunately, I was totally proved wrong by this friend of mine. Within a short period of learning the sport, he showed me how little I knew about this beautiful mind game. Aside his numerous wins over me, his mode of attack from both sides of the board was something I got so scared of. It was as if he has been playing this game longer before me. As a result of this, a lot of people described him as my “life champion.” I was terribly ashamed of myself. It later dawned on me that if I really want to make a headway in chess, I would need to fall in love with it.

          Thereafter, I began to search and peruse every chess material I could lay my hands on. I made a habit to surf the internet for basic chess openings with strong emphasis on how to counter the e4 opening. Learning how to write chess notations and knowing the values of each piece and pawns became my daily practice. Ever since this single revolutionary act, my chess world have not been the same again. I have been playing regular chess games on and I have also attended chess tournament. All these have tremendously enhanced my game. In view of this, I’m happy to inform you that this friend of mine no longer scares me. In fact I have been able to ground a couple of wins from him. It must however be noted that without him, I wouldn’t have gotten to this level of my chess life.

          Chess has since become part of me. Although I know that I can never attain the master’s level because of my age, it is my only hope that my new found love in chess will never wither.