The best players at school, we competed for board one. I inherited it when Paul, a year ahead of Mike and myself, left.
We heard he dropped out, never going to university.
Mike and I went our separate ways, he becoming something big in computing, I a humbler schoolmaster.
Both of us quit serious chess.
Years later, on a whim, I googled Paul’s name, finding a little-used Facebook page, the profile pic a sad-looking bald man.
Unemployed, seemingly, but a member of Coventry Chess Club, now a capable amateur player.
From my comfortable existence, I felt pity … and respect.