Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Am I just a chess player, or a person who just plays chess?

This thought occurred to me after I attended the funeral of Gunars Lamberts last week. In the eulogy his sister listed a large number of things that Gunars achieved in his life but also pointed out that in his free time he "played chess and played chess and played chess". She even mentioned that the reason he did not marry was that he was "already married to chess". However I'm pretty sure that Gunars would not have felt that he was only a chess player, just that chess was an important part of his life. Of course there are people who have been defined as "just a chessplayer". Such a tag weighed heavily on Paul Morphy as he tried to start a career in law, and Bobby Fischer could not escape the label either. It will be interesting to see where the current generation of players ends up in this regard. While it is impossible to reach the very top without being a full time player, I'm sure that almost everyone has interests away from the board. Of course finding the balance may be difficult which I suspect is one of the reasons why Kasparov the politician is not Kasparov the chess player. But for some perspective on this, it might be having a look at the 60 Minutes story on Magnus Carlsen. The early reviews on this are pretty mixed (it is obviously aimed at the non serious or non chess player) but it at least shows who Magnus is as a person.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pretty heavy on the hero worship, as if Magnus can do things no other human being could imagine. He plays 10 games blindfold, which the interviewer gushes about without mentioning the far more amazing blindfold feats of Koltanowski, Najdorf etc.