Checkmate – Bobby Fischer dead at 64

January 18, 2008

This isn’t an obituary as that has been overdone in all international media following Fisher’s death at a Reykjavik hospital at age 64.


No, this post is actually a comment on where our time has gone that chess, backgammon and other mental challenges have seemingly faded from view because of our current, over-stimulated lifestyles.

When’s the last time you sat down to play Scrabble with your grandmother or Go Fish with a niece or nephew? Is it because you hate your relatives or because you ‘don’t have time’?

That’s in quotes because it’s a crock. We say we don’t have time because we’re focused on so many other pursuits — most of which are based on technologies developed to take up less time and be more efficient.

What about online boggle? That takes a couple minutes for a whole game and hundreds or thousands of people play online simultaneously all day long. There’s no need for personal, dare I say face-to-face, interaction. But we’re forgoing live visits for electronic playtime.

Video games, too, are sucking our time in massive chunks. I dare you to pull a kid away from his Wii to play a game of chess or checkers. The mythical ADD-induced acting out will commence and you’ll need to set up an intervention and a time-out for your child.


In my day we had board games and imaginations. These days we have kids with repetitive stress injuries from DDR and Guitar Hero.

Back then we drank lemon juice from the bottle if there wasn’t anything else in the fridge. Today it’s a travesty and DSS is called if you don’t have the latest Vitamin Water or Frogurt treat for your rugrat.

I guess I’m getting off on a tangent, but the point Bobby Fischer’s death hammers home is that playing chess can turn you into an anti-semitic, blathering psychopath with kidney failure. And we don’t want kids growing up to become menaces.

So try to get your kids hooked on something like lead-based Chinese games, extreme sports like street luge, winning a Darwin Award or even Jarts.


Then we won’t have to put up with your mistakes 64 years later.

More to come…