Posted by Jay Livingston
(No sociology here, just what Chris Uggen calls “self-indulgery.”)
I am not a chess player. I haven’t played since my kid was in grade school, and during Saturday morning tournaments, when the kids were playing their matches in the lunch room, some of us bored parents in the auditorium would sit on the stage and play our patzer’s version of the game.
But last Saturday I was at the farmers’ market in Union Square, which also has a lane for chess players.
I figured these were canny players. The match in the foreground above reminded me of “Searching for Bobby Fischer” – how many times had I watched our VHS of that movie – where a park hustler competes with a grandmaster for the chess soul of a young prodigy.
For a minute or so I watched this game. When I got home and browsed through my photos – mostly of things like apples and radishes -- I took a closer look at the board. It was white to move.:
But neither player saw the killer move that black had. If you know anything about chess, you’ll see it immediately. It’s the kind of position you might find in the chess problem corner of the newspaper (“Black has a crusher”), on the same page with the Jumble and Funky Winkerbean. But there it was in a real game.