‘How ya like me now?!’

‘How ya like me now?!’: Stormy Daniels relishes Cohen plea

Stephanie Clifford, the adult-film star who uses the stage name Stormy Daniels, arrives to perform in Florida earlier this year. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Stephanie Clifford, the adult-film star who uses the stage name Stormy Daniels, arrives to perform in Florida earlier this year. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By Elise Viebeck

August 22 at 7:58 PM

Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, is relishing her moment of revenge.

The adult-film star whose alleged affair with Donald Trump was at the center of lawyer Michael Cohen’s plea deal with federal prosecutors took to Twitter in the middle of Tuesday’s firestorm to briefly reveal her delight.

“How ya like me now?!” she tweeted.


Steven Tyler Demands Trump Stop Playing Aerosmith Songs at Rallies

Steven Tyler Demands Trump Stop Playing Aerosmith Songs at Rallies

By broadcasting the 1993 hit “Livin’ on the Edge” at a West Virginia arena, the President infringed on the singer’s copyright, says his attorney.

By Shirley Halperin

Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler is demanding President Donald Trump stop using the band’s songs at rallies, like the one held at the Charleston Civic Center in West Virginia on Tuesday (August 21). The band’s 1993 hit “Livin’ on the Edge” was played as Trump devotees entered the venue, which has a capacity of 13,500. Tyler has in turn sent a “cease and desist” letter through his attorney Dina LaPolt to the White House accusing the President of willful infringement in broadcasting the song, which was written by Tyler, Joe Perry and Mark Hudson.

Citing the Lanham Act, which prohibits “any false designation or misleading description or representation of fact … likely to cause confusion … as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such person with another person,” Tyler’s attorney contends that playing an Aerosmith song in a public arena gives the false impression that Tyler is endorsing Trump’s presidency.
Steven Tyler Demands Trump Stop Playing Aerosmith Songs at Rallies

Of all the possible songs Trump Incorporated could have used for a “rally” why was this one chosen?”

Livin’ On The Edge


Produced by Bruce Fairbairn

Album Get A Grip

[Verse 1]
There’s something wrong with the world today
I don’t know what it is
Something’s wrong with our eyes
We’re seeing things in a different way
And God knows it ain’t his
It sure ain’t no surprise

Living on the edge
Living on the edge
Living on the edge
Living on the edge

[Verse 2]
There’s something wrong with the world today
The light bulb’s getting dim
There’s meltdown in the sky
If you can judge a wise man
By the color of his skin
Then mister you’re a better man than I

Living on the edge
You can’t help yourself from falling
Living on the edge
You can’t help yourself at all
Living on the edge
You can’t stop yourself from falling
Living on the edge

[Verse 3]
Tell me what you think about your sit-u-a-tion
Complication – aggravation
Is getting to you
If chicken little tells you that the sky is falling
Even if it wasn’t, would you still come crawling
Back again?
I bet you would my friend
Again and again and again and again and again
Tell me what you think about your sit-u-a-tion
Complication – aggravation
Is getting to you
If Chicken Little tells you that the sky is falling
Even if it was would you still come crawling
Back again?
I bet you would my friend
Again and again and again and again

Something right with the world today
And everybody knows it’s wrong
But we can tell ’em no or we could let it go
But I’d would rather be a hanging on

Living on the edge
You can’t help yourself from falling
Living on the edge
You can’t help yourself at all
Living on the edge
You can’t stop yourself from falling
Living on the edge

It Was Raining Hard In Buckhead

My life has been filled with synchronicity. While driving for Buckhead Safety Cab in the 80’s I was sent to an apartment at o’dark thiry. Some guy walked toward the car and even though it was dark and I had not seen the man in many years I called out his name, “Roger Chrysler.” He stopped dead in his tracks. “Who’s that?” he asked. “Mike Bacon,” was the reply. He began walking as briskly as possible while carrying luggage and skis. He greeted me warmly and we talked on the way to the airport. I asked why he had stopped playing Chess and he said, “I lost my wife, I lost my life, all to become a “B” player!” His wife was extremely pretty. I have no idea how I knew the man with the skis was someone to whom I had given Chess lessons many years earlier.

I had a short, intense relationship with a woman, Cynthia, who worked for an airline. The last time I saw her she ended the relationship by saying, “Michael, I love you, but will you never have any money and I want money, lots of it!”

Fast forward maybe seven years…I’m driving for Buckhead Safety Cab on a rainy night and was about to drop someone off near a call Fish, the dispatcher, was holding. His real name was Bobby Sisti. The first time we met at the office located on East Paces Ferry Road I asked if he were related to former MLBaseball player Sibby Sisti and his face lit up like a Christmas tree. “Yes! No one has ever asked me that before. You like Baseball?” he asked. “I LOVE Baseball,” was the reply. This was not the first time I had seen Fish. Over the years I had seen him in the afternoon at the Varsity, smoking his omnipresent long cigarette while carrying on a conversation with someone, anyone. Although the large television was on Fish usually captured my attention because as he talked he would look at me as if he knew me. Fish was pudgy then; later he would become overweight. I often wondered why he was always at the Varsity in the afternoon. He was a fine dispatcher, one of the best with whom I worked at any cab company. He had asked me to notify him when I “dropped.” I dropped the guy, who did not have all of the fare. He said, “Sorry man, that’s all I got, but you can have this.” He handed me an already rolled fatty. “That’s some real good shit, man,” he said. “That’s what they all say…” came the reply. He laughed before handing me a bag containing more of the “real good shit,” before saying, “Hope this covers it.” I put the “fatty” in the ashtray and the baggie in my omnipresent Urban Explorer bag because my cab driving motto was, “I don’t turn down nothing but my collar.” Fish was notified and he gave me an address near Powers Ferry. This is one of the best things that can happen to a cab driver because ordinarily after dropping someone “out of the zone” one would have to dead-head on the return trip. A driver cannot go into any area other than the one his permit allows without the possibility of being arrested for picking up in a forbidden area. Not that cab drivers are the most honest of people, but if you attempt to put any passenger in your taxi illegally, you take your chances and, if caught, you pay the money.

By now the rain was coming down in buckets. I loathed driving in the rain, especially at night, but it was a weekend night which was time to put some profit into the pocket. Once I was driving the cab owned by the night dispatcher, Terry Walker. I picked up a lovely young lady who asked me to pull around to the rear of the apartments so she would not have to walk so far in the rain. Unfortunately the rain had created a gully which I could not see and it caused the rear axle to break. Terry had a wife pregnant with twins and a young daughter. Terry would drive a shift, go home to catch some shut-eye, then dispatch the late night shift while I drove his taxi. The cab being down would hurt him tremendously. When I got back to the office Terry said, “Mike, you know that when you drive for someone else he is responsible for all the repairs. Thing is, Mike, I don’t have the money. Is there any way you can help me with half of it?”

“How much will it cost to have it repaired, Terry?” I asked. He gave me a figure. I took off my L.L. Bean glove leather money belt and took out the full amount, laying it on the desk. “I broke it, Terry, I’ll pay for it. Get us back on the road.” Terry was STUNNED, and so were the other drivers there at the time, including the supervisor. “I’m heading to Aunt Charley’s before heading home. Call me when the repairs are completed.”

I did what was needed at the time. I had no idea what it would mean for the future; it was simply the right thing to do. How could I have possibly known it would garner so much respect from not only the people at BSC but from so many people involved with the taxi business in the city of Atlanta? Later it got back to me that the supervisor, a crusty old curmudgeon named Scotty Pickering, a man who had been awarded every medal possible in World War II, and had a severe drinking problem because of it, said, “Bacon is not only the best cab driver I have ever known, but one of the best people I have known in my life. I’d want him in my foxhole.”

After arriving at the address given me by Fish I pulled up to a mansion where a party was breaking up. I could not get close because of the many vehicles, but saw two people heading toward the cab. I knew immediately one was Cynthia. I do not know how I knew, but I knew. The other person was an older man. You drive a cab and learn quickly to size up EVERYONE! The old guy opened the door, putting Cynthia in first, then he walked around to the other side of the cab. As he did, I turned around and said, “Hello Cynthia.” I’ll never forget the astonished look on her face…Her eyes blazed with incredulity. The older gentleman entered and I asked “Where to?” It was a side street off West Paces Ferry near the Governor’s Mansion. We rode in silence. Almost before we came to a stop at the mansion Cynthia opened the door and bolted toward the front door. “You know each other?” the old guy asked. I thought of a Dylan song before saying, “Twas in another lifetime…” The guy wanted to go after her so he tossed me a bill and got out. It was a C-note. Then he stuck his head back in before closing the door and said, “That was a fifty, right?”

“Right,” was the reply. Then he began trotting after Cynthia, shouting, “Cindy! Cindy!”

I drove down the half moon driveway of his mansion, checking the time, trying to decide whether to head right toward Steak & Shake, or left, back to the ‘Head. After reaching the bottom of the driveway I remembered the fatty,and nabbed it out of the ashtray. I fired it up and took a toke…”Man o’ man,” I’m thinking, “that is some PRIMO SHIT!” Just to make sure my initial judgement was correct, I took another tasty, lung wrentchin’ pull, and it was confirmed; this WAS some FANTASTIC WEED! It was so good I was afraid to take another toke, so I turned on the radio. It was quite for a moment and as I reached for the knob I heard the opening chords of this song:

Psycho Taxi Boy Checkmated

My birthday is tomorrow, or today, depending…Technically, according to legend, I was born at 7 AM, August 21, 1950, in the back seat of a Ford convertible on the way to Emory hospital. The story handed down says my mother’s cousin, Carrie, was in the back seat attempting to keep me from coming by keeping mothers legs together. I was having none of it, and pushed my way into the world.

The next day at the blog begins at 8 PM, so technically it is already August 21, but then, it’s always five o’clock somewhere according to fellow Georgian and country singer Alan Jackson. I have therefore decided to publish a couple of posts that are personal in nature. Without further ado…

Someone did an internet search of yours truly finding my name, Mike Bacon, contained in a blog post. “Is that you?” he inquired. After checking it out, honesty compelled me to reply it was indeed me about whom she had written. If unaccustomed to reading something someone has written about you it can be disconcerting. I write about other people, some of whom like it, some are indifferent, and some do not like it at all. I have always appreciated hearing what others think of me, which seldom happens unless someone wants to give you a piece of their mind.

I met Debbie while driving a cab. As a matter of fact it was an “outlaw” cab because I was in Atlanta and the cab was registered in another county. I was in that particular cab because the folks at Checker Cab Company wanted me to better learn other areas of the metropolitan Atlanta area which would help if I decided to become a dispatcher. Unfortunately, the manager of the company feared I was there to take his job. Long story short, the manager of this particular company, a fat, smarmy type was “in love” with some woman and was apparently embezzling funds to spend on “the love of his life” from the small company which had earlier been purchased by Checker Cab Co. I voiced my suspicions to the supervisor, who happened to be a friend. He told the owners, who did not want to hear it, and I left the company. Later my friend, TDub, informed me an audit had been instituted because of my suspicions and it was found the guy had been, in fact, embezzling funds…

Debbie and I had a short, tempestuous, relationship. Some of my acquaintances thought of her as a “new age” type. She had an apartment in a nice, upscale, area and asked me to move in with her. I was only there a few days because the manager of the property did not want a taxi parked anywhere near the place. Debbie wanted me to talk with the lady in hopes talking with me would dissuade the woman. Even though I told her it would be a waste of time she convinced me to talk with the woman. It was a waste of time, and I moved immediately…

Debbie told me she had been in the import-export business, traveling the world making purchases which she would sell while turning a profit. Upon learning I had been in the sports memorabilia business she said, “So you were in retail, too!”

The last time I saw Debbie she had gotten touch to invite me to her houseboat on Lake Lanier. I was informed she was on the lake as a way of “getting off the grid,” because of a “deal gone wrong.” I did not ask her to elaborate…

After beginning this blog a comment was left by Debbie. We corresponded via email for some time and I learned she had gotten heavily involved with Reikki, and Thai massage. She sent a picture of her and of her house/business in Indiana:

What can I say other than Debbie is a colorful, and quirky, woman…

What follows is from her blog. Rather than providing a link I have decided to print the whole thing. If you decide to read it I would like you to understand something important. The piece is a mixture of fact and fantasy. For the record, I am agnostic. Debbie writes, “I got in the passenger seat alongside Mike…” If one drives a cab in Atlanta it is OK to have a female in the front seat with no passenger(s) in the back ONLY IF THE METER IS OFF! If the meter is on there must be people in the back seat, with the front seat utilized only in that event. This is because there is a law against it, which dates to a time cab drivers would have a woman in the front seat with them who was amenable to administering to the needs of certain passengers, if you get my drift…The police are very strict about enforcing that particular law. In addition, when a cabbie arrived at a “Gentleman’s Club” he was, at the time I drove, given a certain amount of cash per each passenger, which varied at each joint, and the new ones would ‘up the ante’ as a way of having more patrons come through the door. No cab driver would allow ANYONE to sit in a cash seat. So her riding around in my cab while I was on duty NEVER HAPPENED! I will, though, give Debbie “poetic license,” along with the caveat “Creativity comes from the dark side,” a quote from Glenn Frey.

It is written: “Mike claimed that the most lucrative night of the year for Atlanta’s cabbies was the last night of the Southern Baptist convention. After sending their families and attendees away in time for Sunday services back home, a select group of pastors, choir directors, youth leaders and the like stayed on for a little private convening of their own…at the infamous Cheetah strip club.”

Evidently I regaled Debbie with tales of cabbie daze. Unfortunately, she is writing a couple of decades after the fact and has obviously misconstrued some things. For instance, I never drove as “Cab load after cab load of these church guys were carried from their fancy midtown hotels to the club all night long.” As a matter of fact my most memorable trip to the infamous Cheetah Club culminated with one of the three passengers in the back seat being ARRESTED. To make matters worse, the drunken fool claimed to be an assistant DA in some small town in South Carolina. I asked them nicely to “tone it down.” Two did, but the fellow in the middle refused to comply even when the other two begged him to be quiet. He ridiculed me for driving a taxi, constantly making disparaging comments. I took more than necessary because no cab driver wants to lose a fare. I was fed up with his verbal abuse so pulled over on Spring street and ordered them out of the cab. The assistant DA began screaming, “YOU DON’T KNOW WHO I AM!” I AM AN ASSISTANT DA!” I replied, “Mister, I don’t give a shit who you are. If you were the Attorney General you would have to abide by MY RULES because it is MY CAB, and when you are in MY CAB I AM THE SUPREME CAB CONTROLLER!!!”

The other two passengers attempted to talk sense to the idiot, but he was out of his mind DRUNK, and refused to listen. They exited the cab, but Mr. Ass DA refused, so I called the dispatcher, who notified the police. Upon arriving the cops wanted to hear what I had to say, which pissed him off IMMENSELY. He continued to talk, saying things like, “Why are you talking to a lowly CAB DRIVER. YOU DON’T KNOW WHO I AM! I AM AN ASSISTANT DA! YOU SHOULD BE TALKING TO ME!”

One of the cops responded, “Sir, I don’t care if you are the Attorney General. I want to talk with the cabbie. If you do not SHUT-UP you are going to JAIL!” This pissed him off even more and he continued his drunken blather, so was slapped in irons and taken to jail. After leaving I got back into MY CAB and started to drive off. The two quiet drunks said, “Hey, you ain’t gonna leave us here on the side of the road are you?” Before hitting the gas I said, “Call a CAB!”

I will admit that during convention time I drove “Cab load after cab load…” to and from strip clubs because that was my JOB. But I never drove “church guys” because it was a well known fact that the church types preferred staying in their rooms to watch porn. Anyone around during that time will tell you the rentals of porn videos was off the charts at every hotel in the city when the religious types came into town. Business was so bad at the strip clubs many of the girls did not come to work and most of those who did were sent home.

With this in mind I give you…

Psycho Taxi Boy on a Terribly Hot Sunday Night with the Southern Baptist Convention

13 January 2017

“Want to go for a ride? We haven’t talked in awhile…”

I recognized that drawl…
Mike Bacon…miscreant, Atlanta Chess Champion cum gypsy cab driver…
Against my better judgment, I said ok.
“Meet me out front in half an hour.”

The uniquely infuriating Mike Bacon aka Psycho Taxi Boy…
Our last big blowup was 5 or 6 months before.
He had insulted me to the limits of my patience…over some alleged
scandalous behavior of church leaders.
Now Michael had no patience for religious types.
I had little myself, but he had brought his point home
in a stunningly dreadful way.

Now, word for word, no one on the planet has a better command
of the English language than a denizen of the American South.
They are easily the most colorful, artful and entertaining of the speakers.
They certainly do the most with the least.
Homespun wit and native intellect merge in a wickedly punchy brew.
Consider the likes of Tom Robbins if you don’t believe me…

Having ferried all manner of people from around the world in his cab
all those years, Michael had an endless supply of quirky stories.
Ever the acute observer of the human condition, driving cab allowed him
to travel the world from the comfort of his front seat…affording him
not only a unique education, but the freedom to compete in chess tournaments and still keep a roof over his head.
We had met in his cab, in fact.
It was Halloween night, but that is another story…

Michael had surmised that I was still somewhat in the chokehold
of old time religion and needed some wising up.
There was nothing defensible in religion, according to Michael.
We debated the topic hotly one more time.
He told me exactly why he had no faith in those hypocrites.
Michael waxed virulent that day and we blasted apart.
I was still stinging from his attack months later…

Mike claimed that the most lucrative night of the year for Atlanta’s cabbies
was the last night of the Southern Baptist convention.
After sending their families and attendees away in time for Sunday services
back home, a select group of pastors, choir directors, youth leaders
and the like stayed on for a little private convening of their own…
at the infamous Cheetah strip club.
Now the only strip club that was open on a Sunday night was the Cheetah.
Cab load after cab load of these church guys were carried from their fancy midtown hotels to the club all night long.
Mike went into shocking and sordid detail, much to my horror and dismay.
He just wouldn’t let up!
Tempers flared!
I didn’t care if I ever saw Michael again!

Then the soft drawl of his voice that late afternoon…
Much as I hated to admit it, I missed him…
his surly, recalcitrant humor, his edgy droll outlook,
not to mention the peculiar metaphysical experiences
that spontaneously erupted whenever we got together…

I got in the passenger seat alongside Mike, unsure of how to reconnect.
He was a little tucked inside, as well.
He drove toward downtown Atlanta in silence.
Then a little cautious chit chat.
Things eased up. It was good spending time with him again.

First stop…one of the most expensive hotels in the heart of midtown.
Three well-dressed gentlemen got into the back seat.
Destination: the Cheetah club.
Mike dutifully dropped them off, wishing them a good night.
Moments later, 2 men emerged from the club with hookers
on their arms.
They drunkenly waved Michael down and squeezed in.
The cab suddenly reeked of alcohol, cigar smoke and cheap perfume.
Repugnant! I rolled my window down.
Destination: the hotel we had just come from.
I squirmed uncomfortably.
There was too much activity in the back seat for me, but Michael was unfazed.

Finally they exited the cab, only to be replaced by a clump of men
filling the back seat once more, nervously requesting the Cheetah.
They didn’t seem the type, but looks could be deceiving, I reasoned.
None of them seemed the type, but perhaps I was naïve.

Three pale, overweight drunk guys clambered into the back seat
upon their exit…all sporting wedding bands.
Back to the nice hotel.
The men were foul-mouthed…pretty vile, actually.
I glanced at Mike a few times, wincing at their remarks.
He remained impassive.
‘It is what it is,’ I could almost hear him say.

As the night wore on, the fares were rowdier, more crude.
The same sickening circuit.
Too many scantily-clad women draped over their fat arms.
Then some lines of cocaine were snorted in the back seat.
I was churning inside, wondering how I could escape the cab.
I’d had enough!
The men were nothing short of bestial, despite their fine suits,
expensive watches and other ostentatious trappings of wealth.

I overheard their conversations. There was no escaping it.
I was already mortified, but things were about to get worse…
A snatch of conversation held me riveted.
The men were bragging about their conquests, each one trying to best the others.
That’s when I heard them mocking their wives…their mistresses…
and their congregations.

My blood boiled, my stomach turned…
I realized what night it was…
Sunday night- the infamous last night of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The fine suits, conservative haircuts, wedding bands, their coarse mockery,
the long line of cabs making the non-stop circuit between the Cheetah
and the fine hotels.

“Michael! Please get me out of here!!!”
Michael finished one more run…for emphasis.
Then he pulled to the side of the road so I could retch.
I shook with revulsion…and understanding.
He had exposed the rabble of southern Baptist preachers.



Dedicated to Ms. Debra Robinson

Taxi Taxi


All these streets are never ending
Tie ’em in a knot
Drive me through a red light
Waiting for everyone to stop
Sing to me like Pavarotti
Sing to me of Spain
Take me to you operetta
And make it rain
Taxi, taxi, give me a ride
I’m gonna take you to the other side
Taxi, taxi, turn off your light
I’m gonna ride with you all night
Take me to your meditation
Take me to your door
Show me love’s sweet revelation
Lying on your floor
Hole me in your arms forever
Take me to the end
Drive me to the edge of nowhere
And sing again
You’re as cool as Colorado
And Orpheus on fire
Crash the car into a rainbow
Here with me tonight
All the satellites are shining
In the starry sky
I can feel your arms surround me
Higher and higher
Taxi, taxi, taxi, taxi
Sing to me like Pavarotti
Sing to me
Taxi, taxi, give me a ride
I’m gonna ride with you all night
I’m gonna ride with you all night
I’m gonna ride with you all night
(repeat 2 times)
Taxi, taxi


Apology Due Chris Matthews

Chris Matthews

is the current host of the show Hardball at MSNBC (http://www.msnbc.com/hardball). I have been watching, reading, and listening, to Chris since he appeared as a regular on The McLaughlin Group (https://www.mclaughlin.com/). I have read three of his books, which are excellent:

In a recent post (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2018/08/15/chris-mathews-has-seven-women-on-his-mind/) I mistakenly made fun of Chris for saying the song, Take It Easy, was a Jackson Browne song. This weekend I finally got around to watching the 2013 documentary, History of the Eagles (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2194326/?ref_=nv_sr_1), from which I learned Jackson Browne began writing, but had trouble completing the song. In stepped Glenn Frey of the Eagles to finish the song.

‘History of the Eagles’ director Alison Ellwood credits Glenn Frey with reinforcing the honesty of her 2013 documentary.
George Pimentel/GettyImages


I sincerely regret the lack of knowledge shown with the earlier post. One lives and hopefully, learns. Life is like Chess in that one must be honest about mistakes and, hopefully, correct them, so as to not make the same mistake again. It is more than a little obvious I should have researched the origin of the song before firing a hardball salvo at Chris Matthews, whom I admire and respect. This is my attempt at a heartfelt apology due Chris Matthews. It is I who should have run it by Ari Melber before firing the salvo.

Two New Books From Elk and Ruby

In a short time the publishing company of Elk and Ruby (http://www.elkandruby.ru/) has made a very good impression, bursting onto the Chess publishing landscape like a burning fireball comet. The two newest books have added much fuel to the fireball.

Sergei Tkachenko has produced another wonderful little tome devoted to Chess compositions, Nikolai Rezvov, from Child Burglar to Grandmaster: A World Champion’s Favorite Composers. The book contains one hundred fantastic compositions and the story of the composer, Nikolai Rezvov. The first couple of dozen pages comprising the introduction begins, “The community of chess composers is rich in personalities. Nikolai Vasilevich Rezvov, Ukrainian chess composition grandmaster and FIDE chess composition international master, lead a most remarkable life!
At the end of 1921 Odessa Izvestia warned: “Hunger is at Odessa’s door. Until now we have been talking about an impending catastrophe. Now it is here, facing us. All the signs for this are visible. Cases of scurvy and even death from starvation are becoming frequent.”

Nikolai’s family suffered more bad news in addition to this social disaster; his father deserted them soon after Nikolai’s birth and his parents divorced. Our hero found himself the sole male in his family. It’s hard to imagine how his mother and grandmother survived such abysmal times with a newborn.

Nikolai Vasilevich told the author of this book that he was feeding his family by the age of four!

A garrison was located next to the port, protecting the port’s warehouses and equipment. Odessa lads would often run down to the port to watch the cargo ships. The soldiers acted kindly towards these ubiquitous urchins and even fed them porridge. Nikolai would bring some of this precious sustenance home for his mother and grandmother.

Well, it wasn’t only for trips to the port that these Odessite waifs were famous. Their lack of height and innate savviness enabled them to slip through small windows of rich apartments and open the doors for the older hands. This was a particular game of “noble thieves” for which Odessa, let’s face it, had long been famous! It’s not hard to guess what the “endgame” of this romantic way of life would have been for young Nikolai had it not been for one fateful encounter at the age of five or six!

After creeping his way into an apartment belonging to a local jeweler following a tip-off, Nikolai found himself caught in a trap. The owner who had sensed trouble ahead, had stayed at home and caught the young cat-burglar. The logical reaction would have been to grab this Oliver Twist by the scruff of his neck and haul him off to the police. However, the jeweler acted differently. He offered this failed burglar’s mother a deal to take him on as an apprentice and teach him the subtleties of the jewelry trade. A risky and unusual step, frankly! Moreover, in order to dispel any thoughts the urchin may have had about returning to his thieving past, the jeweler, a passionate chess lover, taught his young charge the rules of the game. And that is how the child burglar Nikolai Rezvov crawled through the window into the world of chess!”

The introduction ends, “In over half a century, Rezvov created around 450 compositions encompassing all known types. Many of these are true classics!”

For instance:

1st team championship of Ukraine, 1965
(edited by S. Tkachenko, 2017)
1st place

White to move and draw

Mikhail Zinar’s Difficult Pawn Endings: A World Champion’s Favorite Composers.

From the introduction:

“One spring weekend the lad was walking in the Yuri Gagarin(!) Park in Simferopol and dreaming of his future glorious pilot studies. The world of aviation incurred a terrible loss and the kingdom of Caissa experienced a fantastic gain when Zinar stumbled upon an open pavilion in the park with people playing chess!

Chess! This became Zinar’s life obsession. In just half a year he made the journey from absolute beginner to first category player (1800 plus). After that, it was onwards and upwards. With the wish to focus entirely on chess, our hero changed jobs in 1974. This wasn’t a fair exchange! Only an incurable romantic would agree to give up a position of aviation mechanic with free accommodation in a dormitory and a salary of 130 rubles per month (a very decent amount in those days) in favor of a salary of 90 rubles per month and no accommodation as a coach at a children’s chess club! The chess atmosphere now literally encircled our hero 24/7. Locking the doors at night after the last chess club member had left the premises, Zinar would move tables together, pull a mattress and bed linen from the cupboard and settle down for the night. The following morning the same procedure would take place in reverse…”

The book contains one hundred pawn endings, each a thing of beauty.

M. Zinar
Chess in the USSR, 1981
1st special prize

White to move and win