Whew! Got the banner completed! Please pop over to the ZOtherOne's gallery and take a look at his work. I can't say enough how thrilled I am that he let me use his picture.
I spent a good while scouring Deviant Art for the perfect image. His captured the sense of journey, fear, excitement, hopes and dreams that most of are moved by when we play chess.
The board in the picture belonged to his grandfather. My grandfather is probably the reason I keep coming back to chess as I get older. As a kid, we played a game and I stuck a Knight on f6, a Bishop on g7 and castled short. He called it an Indian defense, said it was good and that he had to work to beat me.
I'm sure he handled me better than he let on, but his words have stuck with me.
I haven't seen my grandfather in about ten years. My grandparents divorced and the family as a whole split for a little while. Deep down, part of the reason I play is the hope that I'll run into him. He was always ahead of the curve with computers. He set me up with a couple of chess games over a modem when I was a kid, so maybe he's on FICS. Maybe he's gonna be at the Baltimore Open in January.
A few years ago my mother gave me his first edition copy of Rueben Fine's Chess the Easy Way. She'd had it in a box of things she took from his farm before it was sold after the divorce. I never really looked at it- its in descriptive, after all!- until recently when I started to miss him.
He taught me about a lot more than chess- computers, electricity, radio signals, weather, deer tracking, that you don't have to hold everything inside. I just want another game with him, to show him I've learned and gotten better. I hope he'd be proud of me.