In his recent obituary of Bobby Fischer, Leonard Barden, the Guardian's veteran - how he will hate that word - chess correspondent mentioned that he played a series of short "blitz" games against the young genius when he visited the UK in 1960. What he failed to mention was that he won one of them - The Hand That Beat Fischer!(via Norman Geras)
When we met last week, I said that this boast would have been the centrepiece of any piece I'd written. Barden, modest and unassuming, told me he would never be so self-promoting. It was, he pointed out, the only game he'd won in a series of 14. After that solitary victory, Fischer had said, "You British weakie, now I'm going to crush you." And he did. But I still think the omission is significant: Barden serves the game - and the truth - not himself.
This week, whether he likes it or not, some Barden-boosting is in order, because when his column appears in next Saturday's Guardian he will become a world champion. He will establish a new all-time record for the longest-running continuous chess column, beating George Koltanowski's column in the San Francisco Chronicle, which ran for 51 years nine months and 18 days from 1948 to 2000.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Stephen Moss in the January 28th Guardian (U.K.):