King’s Pawn

Lyov Myshkin.  The Idiot.  The master.  It was a clever alias, perhaps, or a twist of fate which named my chess mentor after Dostoyevsky’s “fool.”  Homeless by choice, he rode his bike up and down the parkway, spending nights in parks and under bridges, wherever he could find freedom and his next fix.  No bills to pay, no women to interfere, he passed his days in strategy.  The game was his only source of joy, other than sauerkraut and the occasional gyro.  He passed out of sight after the last big snow.  Perhaps he is already gone.  Or maybe he’s in Vegas, reveling in his latest tournament victory.  I will keep playing, either way, compelled if not yet addicted by moments of pure mind, of my best move against yours, uninterrupted by luck or chance or fate.  Did he know what moved him?  And how will he be transformed when he reaches the other side?

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I believe this man is now playing chess with my 17 year old son in Kirkwood, MO.

    • I heard from another chess enthusiast that Lyov was still around. Once I got closer to my wedding, I’m guessing he realized that I wouldn’t have the time to play chess, so he stopped showing up at our usual time.

      That said, he’s an amazing player and teacher. I learned a lot from him and not just about chess. He helped break a lot of my stereotypes about a lot of things. I am grateful for having known him.

      • Thank you for your reply. I was fortunate enough to meet Lyov on Friday night. He was very gracious to entertain my interrupting his evening. We had a lovely and interesting conversation for about an hour. My son is lucky enough to be learning some of the same things from him that you did.


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