Chess, anyone?

I am currently playing chess with a friend who is known as an astute businessman. My instinct tells me he’s good. I think my process of becoming a good player will be this: get my ass handed to me regularly as I read about the game. 

Another friend, Howard, is a great player. Twenty-five times, he defeated me before I finally managed a win. Another time I almost defeated him, only to make the wrong move and accidentally end the game in a stalemate. Howard is the kind who likes to make a game interesting: he’ll sacrifice his queen after taking out your queen. It’s like two fighters throwing down their weapons and deciding on bare knuckle. 

Another friend I played against told me I’m too predictable. All three of my sons can play, and one of them said I have a huge penchant for castling as soon as possible.

Tigran Petrosian and Vladimir Kramnik were/are known for their impenetrable defenses. Garry Kasparov is known for his aggressive offense. Bobby Fischer was so brilliant that sometimes he’d deliberately make a terrible move (in chess analysis, it’s known as ?! or ??!) as if to say, “I can make what would be a fatal move for a mortal player and STILL win the match!”

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What am I currently reading?

Three books.

Fiction: Lonesome Dove. It’s funny how some towns in the Old West became founded simply because the settlers got lost. That was one town described early in this book. A friend, LIndy Segall, once told me this is a book I must read. Reading it so far reminds me of my father, who loved reading westerns and read everything Louis L’Amour ever wrote. 

The Hunter. It was later adapted into a movie called Payback starring Mel Gibson. It’s a fun read so far, and this book gives you a lot of back story on Mal Resnick, who became Val in the movie. You’ve heard the term “hard-boiled” often used to describe police, detective, and crime novels. This one is certainly no different.

Non-Fiction: The Road to Moonlight Feels Right by Bruce Blackman. You’ve heard of the 1970s band Starbuck and their hit song “Moonlight Feels Right.” It’s up there with “Hello, It’s Me” by Todd Rundgren and “Lead Me On” by Maxine Nightingale as my favorite songs from my first decade on earth (I was born in 1973). Bruce wrote and sang it. The book details his Mississippi childhood, his tough-as-nails parents, along with the realities of the music business. If you want to become a professional musician, read this book. On another note, I grew watery-eyed when Bruce wrote about his friend who joined the Marines, went to Vietnam twice but returned only once.

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