The game of chess seems to be made for gentlemen.
But the struggle that ensues is often fierce and prolonged.
It is not unusual for a tournament game to last five hours, a potentially exhausting exercise in defense and attack with the allotted time on the chess clock maddeningly ticking down.
A single inaccurate move can spell disaster.
Although large muscles are not engaged, it is unlikely that any sport significantly exceeds chess in the level of prolonged stress.
Nevertheless, it is rare that players fail to observe the proprieties. A notable exception was a game back in the ’60s, when Viktor Korchnoi is alleged to have directed a kick against Tigran Petrosian under the table.
I also recall a homicide committed by an enraged opponent at a Times Square chess emporium decades ago.
But such instances, happily, are exceedingly rare.
Players usually confront each other as two colleagues engaged in a decision-making process. Because chess is a science as well as a sport, one of the great pleasures of chess is reviewing post-mortem the completed game with one’s opponent.
Over time, chess tournaments – like other sporting encounters – often produce friends, only rarely bitter adversaries.
Below is a win by Ray Robson against Shanglei Lu in the Yinzhou Cup – China versus USA match – at Ningbo, China.