You were completely insane.
Imagine you’re one of the best players in the country. You only read one tiny chess book and you became one of the best.
I had to read a 1,000 and never reached your level.
I’ve played you. It was the scariest most thrilling game. It was like a nuclear war where everything exploded and nothing was left at the end.
I was excited when the game ended. I shouted, “that was the most amazing game I ever played” and everyone else had to “Shush!” me because they were still playing.
I still remember the game, move by move, 18 years later. The utter brutality you tried to inflict on me branded into my brain.
Last week you were in a tournament. You had won your first two games. Everything seemed normal. You went to the bathroom.
Coming out of the bathroom you said, “call 911.” Then you fell to the ground and died.
You would attack and attack and hammer and crush and surprise until the board was obliterated of all reason.
Nobody played like you. Nobody liked playing you.
You never let up. You never stopped finding the craziest most insane attacks that nobody would even consider. Crazy Creativity.
The best players in the world were afraid of you.
You were an electric charge they were afraid to touch and yet you lit up everyone in your path.
I wish I could do that with all art. With all business. With all my relationships. With my being. That extra push that turns life electric.
You weren’t a regular player. Or a regular human.
One grandmaster said, “He was utterly fearless. He would slash the board to bits.”
You trained your son, a pro kickboxer who said, “He would get mad if I held my hands up. ‘You have nothing to hide from’ he said. We would focus on offense. All out attack.”
You were champion of the US Armed Forces for five years in a row. In an organization of trained killers, you were the most fierce.
One grandmaster said, “HE LIVED LIFE AS A LEGEND. Nobody can explain him. Nobody can understand him.”
Your son said, “He was happy in his own skin. He didn’t need possessions. A house, a car, or a garden to feel at home.
“People called him crazy. But you can’t argue with the methods if the result is flawless. He gave me the skill I needed to live a life worth living
“He was happy anywhere. And he was the smartest man I ever met. ”
When I knew I was going to play you I was scared. I think I cried. I was afraid to lose.
I was shaking the entire game. I was at the highest peak of my play in my entire life. But I was less than an insect and your plan was to totally destroy me.
WHAT! I was winning at one point. Then you surprised me with a force that pressed on every side of my brain. The world suddenly closed in on me and I didn’t know how or why.
Then I thought I was losing. Then, somehow, winning. Then you surprised me.
Then the win was gone. It was just a draw.
But because you were ranked so high it was the exact game that moved me into the official category of “ranked master” so many years ago.
I never knew you. I only played you. I was only scared of you.
I just sat here this morning for three hours and played through 30 of your games. You were ruthless and twisted and brutal and crazy.
We played and you shook my hand and then got up and left. I couldn’t leave the chair. I kept going over the game. Over the game. Over and over.
A crowd gathered and tried to figure it out but nobody could.
You took my sense of GAME (life) to a level I didn’t know I had. I hope I can do a shadow of that for others.
I never knew you. I never spoke to you. I only played you in the most important game of my life.