My Personal Site



I learned to play chess after going away to college. At WMU I made friends with a guy who just loved to beat me, again and again, day after day. I would push the pieces around the board, following the rules I learned when I was a kid, and this guy would just take away all my toys, one after the other. And he would laugh real long and loud each time.

I was mystified. How could he do that?


My brother showed me an opening position he learned where White's first four moves bring the center pawns and two knights into play. He said that that position would give me a much better chance of success. I never got to try it on my opponent at Western; he moved on undefeated. But I continued to play and to study chess for several years.

I joined a chess club in Grand Haven. (Before the Internet, chess clubs were quite common.) I played in tournaments around Michigan. I won a couple class trophies but my rating never got much above 1500, which is pretty average. I still like the thrill of the one-on-one battle, with the clock ticking, but I haven't devoted much to it since those early years.

I actually had one of my games published! (Too bad I didn't win it.) You can see it in the side bar. I remember that the game was an ordeal, and thinking that everyone seems to play their best when they sit across from me. I thought that I never got a break.

I played postal chess before the Internet. And I played online chess with opponents from around the world after the Internet arrived. These days I play against my Windows machine when I have idle time, and that's about all.

I started a real informal chess club when I taught at Zeeland High School. Kids would show up, or maybe not. They didn't care for instruction and competition as much as just playing each other, so that's what we did. We had a couple matches with neighboring schools. At the first one, nobody from Zeeland appeared. At the second one, a large crowd participated, but that was the last interest anybody showed for competition.

BTW, my favorite opening is the Danish. I like it because 1) it is an attacking opening, sacrificing two pawns for tempo and 2) it is spelled like Dan-ish. I like the Bird too, for similar reasons; it's all about attack - and I like birds.