Chess and the JFK Assassination

Reading about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy has been a passion of mine since the late 1960’s. There was a time I could tell you the exact number of books I had read on the subject. Former Georgia State Chess Champion Michael Decker once exclaimed, “You have read EVERYTHING on the subject!” Not hardly…I did a search on the Gorilla the other day and saw there were over 2000 books on the subject. Because this year is the 50th anniversary of the assassination there is a plethora of books on the market, some of which I hope to read. I say “hope” because I have a bad ticker. The truth is I could go at any time. I realize there is limited time to pursue my interests and some must be dropped. This blog is one of them.
In all the books and articles I have read pertaining to the JFK assassination I do not recall ever coming across the subject of chess. It was therefore a surprise to see the word “chess” while reading, “Who Really Killed Kennedy?” by Jerome R. Corsi, Ph.D. While making the point of how difficult a shot it would have been for an amateur like Oswald to have made the writer points out what a tiny percentage of athletes make it to the top of their game. “Typically the transition to world class involves a transformation where the pro learns to see the game differently than the amateur. Consider the game of chess. Studies have shown chess masters truly see no more moves ahead in a chess game than beginners. The difference is that where beginners see moves, chess masters see patterns.” This is on page 52 and there is a footnote, #106, which says, “Bill Wall, ‘The Cognitive Psychology of Chess,” Chess.com, June 21, 2010, http://www.chess.com/article/view/the-cognitive-psychology-of-chess.”
Imagine that, the word “chess’ used in relation to the most infamous unsolved crime in the history of the United States of America. Everything is cataloged on the internet so Bill Wall may be the only chess player to have had his name used in relation to the assassination.
I watched a program on the MLB channel yesterday, “Behind the Seams: The Stat Story.” Something John Thorn, the official historian of Major League Baseball, said struck me, so I wrote it down. “Henry Chadwick’s crusade was, first to make the American game of baseball a game that not only children played, but adults thought worthy of their attention.” Henry Chadwick was the original “stat-head.” Mr. Thorn went on to say, “One of the ways to make baseball seem more important was to attach to it the numbers that businessmen like to peruse and analyse, so as baseball acquired numeracy, it acquired importance.”
From the dwindling numbers of adults involved with chess-and I do not count the parents of the large numbers of children-it is obvious that the vast majority of adults do not find the Royal game worthy of their attention. I do not know what can be done to kindle interest for the great game of chess in adults, but I do know that if something is not done to do so, chess will not survive. I do not know if attaching numbers to chess in the way they were attached to baseball will do for chess what the numbers have done for baseball, but it may be a start. For example, each batter is really two batters, and each pitcher is really two pitchers. A right handed batter hits differently vs. a right handed pitcher as opposed to a left handed pitcher. Same for a right handed pitcher. Each chess player is really two players. One is the player with the White pieces, with the other being the player with the Black pieces. Each player has a different performance rating when playing each color. I have previously advocated showing each rating for every player. It has fallen on deaf ears and there does not seem to be any interest whatsoever in the idea, which I find a shame. The sad fact is that in most crosstables one cannot tell whether a player had white or black. I can think of many possibilities, such as a players performance rating for only the year 2012, or 2013, and so can you.
All the best in chess to you.
Michael Bacon

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Hacked!

My email was hacked, again, recently. I had not taken time to delete all of the email addresses acumulated, and apologize for any spam emails received.
At the same time I was unable to get into my laptop because the password would not work. A virus was contracted. The computer was taken to a place where the hard drive was wiped clean. Unfortunately, I had not backed up my files. When the computer was returned I was informed the ‘r’ on the keypad no longer worked and I would need to purchase another keypad, which is expensive, or buy another keyboard and hook it up to the computer.
While my computer was down, I spent the time reading books, and looking at chess games on a set & board, as in the old days. I also stopped having a constant dull headache I now realize came from spending so much time on the computer. My problem is that I have too many interests, and the web never ends.
While working at the Atlanta Chess & Game Center the subject of cellphones came up and when I mentioned I did not, nor had I ever had, a cellphone. One young man asked, “How did you make it without a cellphone?!” My answer was, “We muddled through.”
This will be my penultimate post on the blog. The fact is that I have written enough. There is a Zen saying, “A man who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.”
I have grown old and have lost interest in chess and writing. Ted Turner said, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” I do not wish to lead, and cannot follow, so there is only one thing left for me to do.