Not often is there such news that, though entirely unconnected to me, hits me personally. Today, two things are doing that job.
Bobby Fischer Dies
There is also sad news today. Bobby Fischer, the great chess player, has died. In high school, chess became an important part of my life, as I met many great friends over the game. More importantly, it was over a chess board that I had conversations that led to my committed belief in Jesus Christ.
Fischer's death means the end of an era.
Weird to think he's dead. An icon? Of course. What does this have to do with Christianity? Everything, sort of.
When a basis of my testimony involves walking home from chess practice with a high school friend, hearing about Jesus as my personal savior, I can't hep but wonder what Fischer knew. He was a quirky legend when I was learning to play. His hatred of many things is well-known, but what did he love?
I hope someone he knew walked home with him from something and told him the truth about our Lord. Doesn't look like he would have listened, but God's word is strong. How often do we give up because we are unwilling to till hard soil?
Makes me think how persistent I need to be in my relationships -- not just in the manner of developing healthy friendships for themselves, but also, to remain cognizant of opportunities to share the most precious relationship I have with them. A few men did that in my life, one of whom was a chess player, and now, feebly but firmly, I walk with God.
His broken life deteriorated after beating Spassky in 1972. Signs were abound before this, but, having reached the pinnacle of chess, he had nowhere to go, nowhere to strive, and imploded. He became more known as a nut-job than a beyond-brilliant chess genius.
For me, his death is also a reminder that the icons of my youth are dying. Life on Earth is fleeting. To me, as a chess player, Fischer was among the biggest icons, if not the only icon, of the sport. Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, Viktor Korchnoi, Judit Polgár, and, of course Fischer's famous Russian foe, Boris Spassky, all are in the list, but, far and away, the status of shining star remains all Bobby Fischer's.
I rarely play chess now, except for occasional games on the computer (maybe a few times a year), but still, hope the soul of Bobby Fischer rests peacefully, having found no solace here on Earth.
There is a colleague where I work, one of the people I interviewed with, with whom I discussed playing a game or two. I should suggest we play soon.
I'm a runner, and there's big news in the running world today. Haile Gebrselassie ran a 2:04:53, 27 seconds off his very impressive record from September 30's Berlin Marathon (2:04:26). While it is not a record, Gebrselassie is demonstrating that he is a serious force in the 2008 Olympics, if not the given champion just waiting to collect an award.
Returning to running, I am finding the joy of the long distances again. While recently, my workouts have been sketchy, I am excited and inspired as I read that there are records still out there. If I were to run a 3:20 marathon, I will have done very well. Hopefully, the profile of these great victories will draw others into the sport, and develop a new running boom. Ah! For the 1980s again!
also see: The Mother of All Matches: Bobby Fischer Goes to War reviewed