Chess and Happinness


(Isn’t cabbage beautiful?)

I’ve been spending a lot of time sleeping over the last week – sinus headaches. And when I was not sleeping I was watching more documentaries. One about how the FBI were tapping John Lennon’s phone because he was writing peace songs and complaining about the war in Vietnam. Another was about the world chess champion Bobby Fisher. While John Lennon’s story ended in assassination (not by the FBI…. well, I don’t think so….) Bobby’s story was even sadder.


(Sometimes we miss the beautiful stuff…)

Bobby Fisher learned to play chess at the age of six, he said he became serious about playing when he was seven. He was incredibly smart and a genius at chess. In the early 1970’s when Russia was still the big baddie he had an opportunity to play against the Russian champion. In Russia chess was a big deal and champions were treated very well. In America chess wasn’t such a big deal but the possibility of beating Russia at any game was a big deal.

The battle was set to take place in Iceland and might take two months to play out. There was a lot of pressure on Bobby and he wash’t coping very well. He nearly didn’t go to Iceland and when he did he nearly didn’t play. He complained about noise and cameras and privacy. In the end he won…. and that was the end of his privacy and possibly his sanity.


(… right in front of our eyes…)

In the documentary we see him years later, a very angry old man with lots of paranoid theories. He was given asylum by Iceland in 2001 when his own country wanted to throw him in jail.

Being smart doesn’t always make you happy, Mairead.