“From sport to sport they hurry me, to banish my regret;…

…And when they win a smile from me, they think that I forget.” From “Oh, No! We Never Mention Her” by Thomas Haynes Bayly.


Rachel Syme reviewed “The Queen’s Gambit” for the New Yorker last month:

“…Wherever the game of chess is involved, I can’t help but think of my own late great-grandfather, Harold Meyer Phillips, a lawyer who served as President of both the Manhattan Chess Club, in the nineteen-thirties, and the United States Chess Federation, in the nineteen-fifties. He was New York State champion at one point, but this was not his proudest achievement. Like Beth, he was often compared to Paul Morphy (his official nickname in the game was “Der Kleine Morphy” or “the little Morphy”), but more for his playing than for his disposition. What Harold, who died in 1967, loved most about chess was not its difficulty, but its ability to bring people together. When Harold was eighty-nine, he wrote an article for the magazine Chessworld, and his bio stated that he had “organized more teams, exhibitions and tournaments than practically any other living chess player.” My grandfather, Harold’s son, would wax wistfully about growing up on the Upper West Side, hearing bedtime stories told by the artist Marcel Duchamp, who was one of Harold’s regular chess partners. I often heard more about who Harold played with, rather than the legends of his queen sacrifices. In our family, chess was seen as a social pastime, a clubhouse of the mind. Watching the end of “Queen’s Gambit,” I felt that Harold would have been glad to see that Beth found joy, at last, in realizing that no victory is as sweet as one that can be shared.”

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