The Chess Players, by Ian Fletcher

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.

Single. 61.

Unemployed, seemingly, but a member of Coventry Chess Club, now a capable amateur player.

From my comfortable existence, I felt pity … and respect.

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