We are in the midst of the club's annual chess tournament to determine the 2012 champion. The player who earns that title is not necessarily the best player in the area, but he or she is the best player in the tournament. But like any sport, sometimes the "best" player is also the luckiest player. In this year's tournament, for instance, one game saw an illegal move made, but neither player saw that the piece was placed on the wrong square. Per the rules of chess, if neither player "sees" this move within two moves of play or ten moves of play, then the move stands and play continues. It isn't necessarily the case in this game that the outcome was determined by this illegal move, but, of course the entire course of the game would have been altered. The player who made the illegal move also happened to be the player who won the game. Thus, "luck" played a part in who won or lost that game. In another game, a draw was envitable as both players had blocked pawns and opposite colour bishops and in this case one player offered a draw and the other player continued to play because there were two pawns both protected by the bishops but on separate files. The hope had to be that his opponent would make a fatal error and a fatal error is just what happened. The player that lost, moved his bishop to the only square that would lose the game and as his hand hovered over the piece realized this would lose the game and immediately moved it to another square. The other player claimed the move was final as he believed the hand had come off the piece. The player that moved the piece acquiesced and went on to lose the game. Luck? or sophisticated cunning--who knows? And finally, so far, anyway, another game was declared a draw by another via three-move repetition. During play that was denied and it was later discoverd that in fact there was a three-move repetition. The error being found and acknowledge by the winning player. This isn't luck, but rather a display of sportsmanship. So, why did I use a quote from Fischer to discuss "luck" and "sportsmanship", because the players at our club and in our tournament are not Fischers, but perhaps some play to "break a man's ego". I don't know, but I do know I do not play to break anyone's ego, though I would be the first to admit winning and losing affects my ego and it is an ugly thing to see (if you are unfortunate to have to view it) and feel (if you happen to lose for whatever reason it can affect you for days after) and (if you happen to win--that, too, affects you but creates an arrogance and self-worth that is not justified). For Fischer and others like him, chess is their life and it provides them meaning and dignity. For others, chess is a recreation to get away from the anxieties of the world and the funny thing is, the game ends up creating anxieties all of its own making.