Sunday, January 20, 2008

Playing for blood as grandmasters should...

Bobby Fischer died last week. Reading the headline in yesterday’s Guardian – and I’m delighted it made the front page – was quite a shock. The chess champion's passing represents a rarity, a ‘celebrity’ (excuse the ‘c’ word) death impacting on me to a substantial degree. I suppose the disappointing aspect of Fischer’s genius was that very few could really appreciate it. While the genius of, say, Best, Clay, McEnroe and any number of writers and musicians can be dug by thousands and millions, the profound intellect of a chess maestro remains so immense that only a handful can truly claim to comprehend the subtleties. I know I couldn’t come close to appreciating his finest moments but I admired the charisma of the guy, revelled in the stories of those 1970s battles with the Soviet grandmasters and, despite a legion of unforgivable utterances and acts doing him no favours, couldn’t help but be drawn to any news piece or article featuring the fellow. My 60 Memorable Games by Bobby Fischer proudly sits on a bookshelf next to me now and I’m tempted to spend an hour or two soon, working through one or two of the great matches annotated therein, and striving to understand at least a little of the sublime acumen that underlies so much of Fischer’s match play.

I bought the Classic 80gb iPod yesterday and, after hours and hours of toil, have finally put all my music onto it. I’m quietly fond of the item already but feel I should have some brand new sounds to ‘christen’ it properly. I might download the new British Sea power album.

The sport was adequate earlier. Gloucester defeated Ulster – a whole province – by 29 rugby points to 21 rugby points. Although the home side managed five tries, the result was in doubt right until the end and I feel a tad underwhelmed by the whole occasion. I am aware that Munster – a whole province – will destroy the noble Kingsholm-based outfit in the quarter finals unless vast improvements are made to my favoured team. The key areas, for me, are the lines-out which stutter and embarrass and the pivotal role of outside-half where I am yet to witness any player (possibly with the exception of Walker away at Leicester) really ‘boss’ a game.

No comments: