Within the past several days I have been asked, via comment, “Who are you?” and, via email, “Why do you write a Chess blog?” Some time earlier I received an email from my friend Michael Mulford: “Just got a message from a very surprised David Rupel. One thing he pointed out was that your blog never identify who the author is!”
I replied, “OK Mulfish…I just went to my blog and…I’ll be damned, I could not find a way to get the the page showing who I am, which is really STRANGE, because some years ago a woman I knew in another life, (name withheld), whom my friends called a “New Ager” & (withheld) suddenly became a follower of the blog, so we emailed awhile so I could learn how she tracked me down, and she did it somehow, so I know there must be a way to find out who the AW is, it’s just that I do not know how to do it! Maybe in the real near future I will do a “Who I am” kinda thing as a post…
Since then I have learned that I must obtain a “Gravatar” if I want people to know who I am. I do not want a “Gravatar.” Hell, I do not even know what a “Gravatar is, and at my age, feel I can live, and die, without knowing, or having, a “Gravatar.”
This is rather ironic because over the weekend I found a new, and interesting, Chess blog, Chessentials, Vjekoslav Nemec’s Chess Blog (http://www.chessentials.com/). The first question posed is: “WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT CHESS?” The answer follows: “My name is Vjekoslav Nemec and i am a candidate master from Croatia. My current rating is 2175 Fide Elo.” In addition he writes, “Which implies I don’t know that much at all.” This leads to the second question: WHY HAVE YOU DECIDED TO WRITE ABOUT SOMETHING YOU DON’T KNOW “THAT MUCH AT ALL”? His answer is wonderful: “Because I love it. I really love chess and everything involved around chess, whether it is playing, reading or following top level games. And someone somewhere has once remarked that you should always pursue things you love.”
I am not as strong as Vjekoslav, but I have loved the Royal game for almost half a century. My name is W. Michael Bacon. I add the W. so as to not be confused with Michael H. Bacon, who played in Atlanta, Georgia, some years ago and people kept getting us confused. I am currently a floored Expert, rated 1800. Or as my friend OLM Neal Harris once said about a decade ago, “Hmmm, you’re a nineteen hunderd.” Yes, I know the correct spelling is “hundred,” but that is not the way we talk in the South. What, you think we Southern people talk funny? Former POTUS John F. Kennedy pronounced “Cuba” as “Cuber.” I do not even know how to write how yankees pronounce clam “chowder.” Maybe something like “CHOWdah.” However one pronounces it I’m here to tell you that the best “CHOWdah” I ever put into my mouth was at a roadside seafood stand in Sturbridge, Massachusetts while playing in a CCA Chess tournament. Those northern folk may talk funny, but they sure know their seafood!
I took being called a 1900 as a compliment. I drew with the Ol’ Swindler once on the White side of the Closed Sicilian. He sent me another game we had contested later in which I lost pitifully, also as White in a CS, and I thought, “Who was THAT player?” It was like two completely different players.
Actually, it made me feel good to be considered a 1900 player. When I first began playing seriously the highest rated player who came to the Atlanta Chess Club on Friday nights at the downtown YMCA was a fellow named Tom Pate, and he was rated 19 something. There were a few higher rated players in the area, like Experts D. Brad Wade, and William A. Scott, but they rarely played, and then only in tournaments like the Georgia State Championship. Coming to the game as an adult I never thought I would make it to 1900.
A decent introduction to who I am, including a picture taken earlier this decade, can be found here: https://en.chessbase.com/post/jon-speelman-s-agony-column-23
The two games encapsulate my Chess career, which was, like my life, erratic. I scored against some players much stronger than an I, such as Polish IM Andre Flipowicz (first round with Black, so it was no “buddy-buddy” draw), but lost to players many hundreds of points lower.
Leonard Cohen said, “There’s a crack in everything. That is how the light gets in.”
I am the crack in the Chess board. I write about Chess from a different perspective, because I look at things a little differently than the herd. I am most definitely not one to tow the “party line.” One can find “Don’t worry, be happy,” and “Everything is beautiful in it’s on way,” blogs all over the internet. I question EVERYTHING! If I had lived in Communist Russia “they” would have, no doubt, sent me to Siberia. If I had been born to an African American woman I would have turned out to be “H. Rap Bacon.”
“The important thing is not to stop questioning; curiosity has its own reason for existing.” – Albert Einstein
Who am I?