Location: Orlando Florida
Profession: Software Engineer
Education: BS in Computer Engineering, UCF
BA in Liberal Arts Studies, UCF
MS in Software Engineering, Drexel
This isn’t supposed to be the hard part, but when you get to know me better you’ll understand that talking about myself doesn’t come naturally. Maybe a blog is exactly what I need!
Let’s start with the obvious. My name is John and I’ve had an unidentified neurological disorder since I was about 2 years old. I’ve always been dependent on a wheelchair to get around, but it isn’t all bad. I do get to park closer to the stores. I figured out long ago that we all have to decide if we are going to resign or play on. I decided to play on.
When I was about 6 years old I was watching Star Trek and saw Spock playing a game. I had to know more about this game. I asked my parents, my teacher, and friends if they knew anything about it. No one I asked could help me. Then my Uncle Tom came for a visit and I explained what I had seen. He proceeded to introduce me to the world of chess. I learned to set up the pieces, how they moved, and I couldn’t wait to play my first game. I got completely destroyed. That was one of the best things that have ever happened to me.
I have always been extremely competitive. Losing that game created such a desire to learn more. I was officially hooked. I pestered my uncle the entire visit begging him to play more. When he left I was very sad. Today I would just google it, but this was before the internet. (I can hardly believe that there was a time before the internet) Fortunately, I had good parents that wanted to nourish this as much as they could so they would take me to the library to find books on chess. I confess that I didn’t truly understand anything in the books. They may as well have been written in Russian, but not understanding made me look harder.
Years passed where I played with anyone I crossed that would admit to knowing the game. One afternoon in middle school a gentleman came and announced that a scholastic’s chess tournament was going to happen that Saturday. To say I was EXCITED doesn’t begin to express how I felt hearing that news. I got to go to my first tournament!
I lost every game in that first tournament but got connected to the US Chess Federation. Organized chess provided me an outlet to compete and fellowship with people from all over the world. I was inspired to create a chess club in high school (Go Green Wave!). Started a chess club in college (Go Knights! Of course, I would be a knight) I even started a group at work.
I want to share this passion with you. I recognize that you can find stronger players than me with a couple of keystrokes in google, but I would put my love of the game against anyone. (I’m not a bad player either.) Let’s help each other grow with chess.