The Secret to Happiness
The death of Alekhine contains a paradox. If he had sought happiness, he found something different if he had wanted fame, his name will live as long as chess is played. When this solitary man was found dead in his hotel at Estoril near Lisbon, his head drooping to one side, a chessboard in front of him, someone took a snapshot of the scene and thus left us a photograph to serve as a symbol of the journey through life of an unusual personality. Throughout his life he had sold his soul to the god of chess and only thus was he able to scale the heights. Those who might have marvelled at him while he was still alive, loved his creativeness after he was dead. When he was young it disturbed him to have a homeland, for he wanted to be independent, able to go wherever he wished at the summons of a tournament. He had no friends, for he was too self-centred. He had no need of women, for it was with chess alone that he was in love. He married women older than himself. He who passed his whole...
Chess is many things to a few people and a few things to many people. A few millions play it, and billions have no idea what it is all about. To those who are enchanted by it, it is a game, a fight, a war in microcosm, an art, a science, an escape, an anodyne, a love affair, a way of life. And a myriad of other things. To those who are not bewitched by it, it is far less. A German proverb says, No fool can play chess, and only fools do. George Bernard Shaw cracked, Chess is a foolish expedient for making idle people believe they are doing something very clever, when they are only wasting their time. H. G. Wells opined It is a curse upon a man. There is no happiness in chess. Michel de Montaigne exclaimed, I hate and avoid this idle, childish game. And Albert Einstein theorized, Master chess grips its exponent, shackling the mind and brain so that the inner freedom and independence of even the strongest character cannot remain unaffected.
As already mentioned earlier, the chances that aggressive King play in the opening phase will bring happiness are very slight. Nevertheless, it is quite wrong automatically to dismiss a continuation just because it requires the King to be active and aggressive. Be very suspicious of such a plan, but give it a fair evaluation. Chess is inexhaustible enough to create a few such opportunities, and dogmatism should never be the reason not to take advantage of them.
At age 24, in September of 2008, Koste-niuk became women's world champion. She wrote, For the closing ceremony, the organizers had had specially made for me a baroness's costume from the Kabardino-Balkaria region, which made me really feel like a queen. Color and black-and-white photos show Kosteniuk wearing the regal costume, her face glowing with pride and happiness.
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