My parents and I were watching the evening news when the name Rolf Tardell flashes across the screen for one of the reports--apparently he is the editor for Aktuellt and shoulders the journalistic responsibility for the feature stories. My father turns to us, "You know, he and I used to be correspondence chess players."
Mom: How do you know it's him?
Dad: There can only be one Rolf Tardell in Sweden.
Me (struck by irony): What?
Dad: Correspondence. Like when you send instructions for the next move by mail.
Me: Who won?
Dad: I did.
I can just imagine my dad opening up a letter and reading Rook to C3 and moving the piece on his own chessboard. He said he would pull out the old letters and show me sometime. I had some idea people played chess by mail, though never that my father did--but now that I have been reminded, I am a little sad that such a practice has been, by all accounts, abandoned in favour of the internet. There is no need to wait days for a reply. A prolonged game of correspondence chess requires a patience that one is hard-pressed to find in these times. I can't explain it, but something about the whole matter stirs my imagination. To think that my father once exchanged letters with young Rolf Tardell the would-be journalist. A whole game! By mail!
It makes me think that my own letter writing should be adapted to include such old novelties--Natalie and I could start up a fierce game of checkers. Or Risk perhaps. How long would it take, think you?