Friday, July 3, 2009

Old Opponents

Do you ever feel strange playing a really old dude? And I don't mean just old. I mean way old and way overrated. I guess it's the opposite phenomena of the 12 year old kid who's abilities are increasing at a faster pace than his rating.

One of my biggest wins from a ratings standpoint was against an elderly gentleman who's best chess days were far behind him...but he would still come out to the weekend tournaments every once in a while with a smile on his face. Even in the summer, he would wear a collar and sports coat...both of which had to be at least 30 years old. He had the look of a widower who had not purchased a stitch of clothing since his wife's funeral many years ago.

He was 19 years old and serving as a chemist in the military when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor...and one afternoon several of us were captivated by his retelling of the experience.

This man once had a rating that I will never come close to achieving.

But was now being crushed in the lower section by some jackass like me.

So many others give up or become bitter when their abilities fade.

Not this guy.

He died a while back and I think about him quite a lot.