On leaving school I played for the
old boy's team before giving up playing just before
I entered the RAF. Even at the age of 18 the enjoyment
had disappeared and everything revolved around winning
and analyzing games to see what you had missed.
My abstinence lasted until I was at
RAF Sharjah in the Persian Gulf. With about 12 of us
to a room our attentions turned to the Friday night
WRVS games evenings. For a small fee each one of us
entered a different competition and any winnings were
pooled for a night out. Seemed they never had a chess
player in the room before.
Chess always seemed a bit like poker
to me with an important part being not to let your opponent
sense any weakness or excitement in you. So on the first
night I was told I would have the white pieces to give
me a chance against the usual winner Tony!! Nothing
asked about if I had ever played before or the option
of a choice of colour. With my nerves a bit on edge
and rather put off by being assumed to be there for
the taking I not only beat Tony but won the competition
I must give Tony his due as he then
asked where I had learnt to play and afterwards we became
keen but friendly opponents. Think on average quite
a bit of money went in the kitty over the next year.
It wasn't until about 1972 when we
moved to our own house in Melton Mowbray whilst serving
at RAF North Luffenham that I was tempted to play again.
The local chess club had moved premises and I eventually
plucked up enough courage to have a look. Serious chess
was far from my thoughts but found an ex-school mate
one of the clubs star players. So I was hooked.