Talent, hard work, or...? The story of Ray Robson

Chess Personalities
It’s not about winning at all costs. Society lies to you.

I broke my leg a week before Moscow Open, 2012.
You know...The combination of snow, mountains, my love for skiing, and my extreme character... I had no chance

So, I traveled to cold Moscow with a cane, and I was like Al Pacino from the classic “Scent of a Woman.”

I liked it. Girls liked it. I liked it even more.

Al Pacino was once a chess Grandmaster

But I didn’t like the news that the playing hall wasn’t in our hotel. They said, “It’s just a five-minute walk.” And missed mentioning, “It’s 30 minutes if your leg is broken.”

Additionally, they said it right before the 1st round!
That meant I was going to be late, and according to the “absentee rule” I was going to lose by forfeit.

My roommate was the American Grandmaster Ray Robson.
And in the 1st round, he was my opponent.

According to the society’s “brilliant” rule — win at any cost — many would just go to the game, and claim victory. Nobody would blame them.

But Ray didn’t.
He stayed with me.

On my right, I had my cane, and on the left — Ray Robson, who was keeping me from falling on the ice.

We got to the playing hall late.
The arbiters didn’t know what to do. Should they give us both forfeit?

Luckily the chief arbiter was a very kind man.
I explained everything. He smiled. Warmly shook Ray’s hand and let us play.


After a 5-hour battle, Ray won
He crossed 2,600. Then in the future, he crossed 2,700 and became one of the American top chess players.

No doubt, he is super talented. No doubt, he has worked very hard.
But I believe, above all, life led him there because of his awesomeness.

Happy birthday to this wonderful sportsman and my friend, Ray Robson!
Feel free to share your wishes to him here.

Additional read:
Article - Be Awesome

GM Robson's photo credits to Lennart Ootes/Saint Louis Chess Club.

Originally published