Bruce TillGaithersburg, MD, United States
I learned to play chess the same way Bobby Fischer did. My neighbor brought home a chess set one day and we read the directions and played, just like all of the other games we had tried. I didn't play much after that, until 1972, when I got swept up in the "Fischer Boom" that summer he played Spassky in Iceland for the world championship. At our county fair that year, the local chess club set up a booth where you could play club members for 25 cents and get a back issue of ChessLife (then called Chess Life & Review) if you won (or if they felt sorry for you after losing a bunch of games--and you were only 13). Then came the typical spiral of activity: buying books, playing with a clock, speed chess, bughouse, joining the USCF, playing in tournaments and leagues, and now, blogging. My first rating was 1619 and my lowest rating was 1460. My highest rating was 2085. My current (June 2009) is 1921. I have won the Maryland Amateur Championship 3 times, including twice in a row in 2002 & 2003. I tied for first (came in second on tiebreaks) in the US Amateur Championship East, as well as coming in third and fourth twice. The highest rated player I've beaten in a tournament is 2509. I once drew Arthur Bisguier in a simul. I give chess lessons, have taught chess in schools, and I also give lessons in person and online.