I Might Have Played Chess with Anthony Sowell
By way of illustrating how his health turned drastically for the worse after he suffered a heart attack, Cleveland serial killer Anthony Sowell spoke of how he once was a good chess player who played all the time on the internet. He said that after the heart attack he couldn’t win a game. The description matches perfectly with someone I have played and briefly chatted with at the Internet Chess Club, and a smattering of other details makes the case stronger that it was in fact him. Regardless, my interaction with the mystery chess player has been one of the more significant of my life.
All Morgan Freeman had to do in Lean On Me was “stay black and die”, and for the longest time I had it in my head that my equivalent would be to stay brilliant and die, but my brush with this player taught me that this simply wasn’t true. The mystery chess player had been much stronger at his strongest than I’ve ever been, and a perusal of his statistics was a sight to behold. All Hot-Dog’s bests (and if that wasn’t quite his handle it connoted awfully close) approached master level, well above 2000, but when I met him he was struggling to maintain half as high. I assumed that some beginner kid had taken over his father’s account, but the guy said no, both were him. Both Sowell and my opponent had suffered silent attacks– neither knew what hit them when they were hit — and I recall that my opponent had contemplated giving up chess, but said “no, I will continue”. This would be just like Sowell; as a worker he definitely testified to being the type who would play through the pain.
Add Anthony Sowell to my growing collection of murderers who have fallen mentally from too high a place. I suspect that’s the real key with your paranoid schizophrenics and what have you. Murder as an outgrowth not of the disease or the trauma, but of the sane glimmer of a sharp mind’s former self, when a man looks on with impotent outrage at the shell he is becoming and has become. Herb Mullin was a valedictorian before he became schizophrenic, and Mr. Anime, Trey Sessler, used to be sharp as a tack. Sessler post-lobotomy would have been too lethargic; he killed his family with his last flicker.
Here I also insert myself as an honorable mention. I dropped about a full grade point between sixth and seventh grades, and in my book I list all sorts of reasons which I ultimately distrust, because I had too many reasons. It might have just been one of those forest fires of the brain– I did make a crack about my brain cells rapidly committing hari-kari.
I felt I was grade school royalty when I was dominating the classroom, and when I stopped dominating this didn’t alter my perception of being royalty, since royalty is a birthright and not something a person has to earn and re-earn anew. I became unrecognized royalty, walking around silently saying to everyone, “Don’t you know who I am?” Incredulously, no one did.
Fast-forward to 16:36 of Anthony Sowell, part two, to pick up from the chess comments. If you listen much beyond that point, you will have heard more than I have. I just had to stop after hearing him talk about chess.
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