what new yorkers are reading on the subway

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Mastering the Opening

Queens Bound F Train in Manhattan
I have been remiss in not posting an entry about Naf, who was reading a chess book on the train last weekend, Mastering the Opening, by Byron Jacobs. Naf "works downtown...in investment banking" and says his book is "something to read in the subway." Then he laughs. He asks me if I play chess, and when I mumble yes--because I can play chess even if I don't play chess--he asks me about my favorite opening; his book, as the title indicates, is about openings in chess, the first move a player makes. For those who know chess, this is a key move. For others, like myself, it's the only move that isn't usually followed by checkmate. Naf doesn't refer to himself as some kind of master chess player, but has played and admired the players in Washington Square Park in the Village. "Sometimes in the Park, they play for money. Most of the time, they win, or they would not play for money."

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