Saturday, July 09, 2005

Post Script

Saturday Morning…

A lot has been going on over the last week or so.
A couple of adventures if you want to call them that. A fight with the drunks who live next door. Having to deal yet again with Chris Reynolds at the US embassy and a bad meeting with one of the directors of an English language school in Minsk. None of this, not one moment of any of it was anything one would choose to be a part of if there was a choice.

At the moment I am sitting in the kitchen typing this, the kitchen being my new office here. I don’t know why Tatyana wouldn’t allow for a desk in our bedroom. I mean, you would think that including a desk would be one of the primary pieces of furniture one would include in any decorating scheme. Egor has a desk. Egor in fact has a great desk. But I do not. I only have the kitchen table and I do not like this in the least.

So I am sitting here in the kitchen writing and to be honest I have sort of a sick feeling in my belly today. I know that it is simply nerves over what happened during my trip to Minsk yesterday. That trip was a big deal and that things did not run smoothly for me is the cause of my nerves.

Anyway, so I was thinking that doing a little writing about what all is going on might be a good therapy for an acid stomach here in the time before we go and watch Boris Spassky today. Oh, yes, today is the day. No, neither Egor nor I will be playing in this match. I think it is a shame really, but without any doubt that door has been closed. Maybe I should take a moment and talk about that.

I found this out for certain about the situation about whether or not Egor would be playing a few mornings ago when I ran into Leonid Linderenko out on the square in front of our house. He was heading off somewhere to do something and carrying a blue duffle and dressed in sweats. A workout?

Anyway I offered him a good morning and he came over and shook my hand. And without my asking he began to explain to me why Egor was not going to be playing against Boris Spassky. Well no, let me get this straight, what I said to him was something like “You know that meeting at the chess club was kind of…” I made a hand gesture indicting something that was a little off balance, and then he started in. He started in on how Egor wasn’t very disciplined and some of the other children did better in tournament than he did. He mentioned that though he had received a second reserat, some of the other children won the right to play against Spassky but Egor was of course invited and of course he would e happy to give me another invitation. I told him we had two which would be all we could use and then told him that really, I was only referring to Boris Vasilovich.

“I don’t know anything about that.” Was all he said and he said that quite quickly. Right. I looked at him for a moment and then told him that I had written an article about what had happened at the chess tournament back in January and that I had begun to think that there might really be something wrong with Boris Vasilovich. Linderenko simply smiled and said that he needed to be going.

So that was that. And I don’t know what to say about any of this. At this very moment, Egor is playing chess about as well as he ever has. I know this because he has returned to training with the computer and at the moment he is overwhelming the computer against a level where only a few months ago he would struggle. Maybe it was the shock of being told he has discipline problems. Or maybe it was simply having this proved to him. But if this is so and if Egor has started to make some kind of adjustment because of this, really I could no be happier.

I have always said that no one knows how much a lesson in life is supposed to cost. Only if you don’t learn it the first time, you will have to pay again. I mean, I know that getting a chance to play chess against a world champion is a once in a lifetime thing, but if losing that chance is an inspiration to be better, than the moment indeed has some good value and for that I am grateful.

Of course, if the lost chance did not come about for the above stated reasons, but instead came about because of a spiteful and sick old man bullying children, playing head games with them and using them for nothing but the propagation of their egos, well than this is a horse of a different color. And again, and really this is exactly like what I mentioned in the Chess Chronicles: After someone proves that they are corrupt and usurious, it sort of colors everything doesn’t it?

And so there you have it: Linderenko and I meet on the street. Linderenko immediately and without any prompting tells me “the story” behind Egor’s not playing. He doesn’t tell me about how exciting setting up this Spassky deal is, he explains to me, just like how Boris Vasilovich wanted to “explain” to me how he wasn’t actually putting a head fuck on Egor just before his chance to play the biggest game in his life.

Anyway, that was that. I guess all I am saying is that I am getting really sick of having so many fucked up people in my life. And these last few days have simply been more of this sort of thing. I know my perspective may be kind of limited, but is it just me or has the whole world sort of become a really, really ugly place to live?

after we get back. And I will try and relate what this Boris Spassky celebration was like. Frankly, I hope someone kicks his ass.

Where is Bobby Fischer when you need him?

(Six hours later…)

Saturday Afternoon

Well, just got back and I would like to say that it all was a really good show. And it was too. Boris Spassky is an engaging and handsome gentleman. He speaks with the sort of easy manners (and accent) that would befit a millionaire Frenchman, which is what he has been for decades now. And really, any sort of paranoia about residual resentment towards Egor on the part of our Boris Vasilovich (Spassky’s imya uchistva is also Boris Vasilovich) was put to rest within moments of arriving at the chess club. Everything had been very carefully planned and really, there were only 10 desks to play the group game with Spassky, and so as there were a lot of kids that did not get the chance to play, Niether I nor Egor felt bad abut things. And as I said, it was a great show.

But no, no one kicked his ass.

We at first went to the concert hall and Spassky gave a little talk about his life and his career. He even presented interestingly enough that same 21st game from the 1972 world championships, which was kind of cool considering he lost the game. He made a comment about playing fisher by the way that sounded as if it was a quip he has mad a thousand times but was still funny. He said: I had a chance against Fischer, it just wasn’t very big.

After we walked over to the chessclub and watched Spassky play the group game. Grib was there as was Kosty and so was Pavel, Kosty’s cousin from Canada who is here at the moment. Nice kid. Kosty lasted the longest of the 10 tables but finally eventually resigned giving Spassky a perfect 10 and 0 against the chess club’s youngest and finest.

So at the end, Egor had his invitation signed by Spassky, got an ice cream from me and we headed back to the house. Not a bad Saturday.

And about Boris Vasilovich, well, you know I have said some bad things about him over the last while and you could argue the point about his ego and all, but when push came to shove, I am kind of glad he had his big day. Yes, he is crazy, but what the hell. There was one brief moment when our eyes met at the chess club and the old bastard just seemed so happy, I couldn’t do anything other than just nod in agreement: Yea, getting a world champion to come for a visit was indeed a way, way cool cultural event for the town.

Anyway, I guess what this really means is that the Chess Chronicles serial is now at an end. I have some other things I want to talk about. Mostly bad stuff I am afraid. But then again, when have I had anything but this since I have been here?

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