Happy Birthday John

Tarrasch, klein

Siegbert Tarrasch

I’ll say it again and again,

Life is listening to synchronicity.

Thrift stores and garage sales are where it happens. I play games sometimes. I imagine things I would like to have and then let my imagination go.  I shop with the glow of possibilities and magic. It is amazing to find the things I thought of.

The days of thrift stores, any Salvation Army or garage sale, have pretty much ended. Yet, I remember going back to a certain bookstore. It was a place that supplied us with some interesting used books. We found some great books there. This bookstore was having a garage sale because it was a garage sale of used books; Old and dusty; histories that are enchanting.

My husband collects too many Chess books. One day we went out to breakfast and then turned into the local used bookstore for our terrible addiction to books. On this particular day a big book sale was happening; an array of books were for sale outside and it was about to rain.

The two of us separated looking for a gem or heart of gold. We both were coming up empty. I wanted to find something special for my husband on his birthday on that same day. He has studied and played chess for years and I do not know much about the game.

I have been known to try to fool him by going into his chess closet, taking out an old one and wrapping it up for Christmas or on his birthday as a NEW gift.  He remembers them all.  I sometimes put little notes in his chess books thinking he will never find them… but he always does (even years later).

Anyway, on this day from our past I found a small selection of game books and noticed one with the word “CHESS” on it.  It was a book about Siegbert Tarrasch and I thought,

“How do I say this name?”

I tried hiding the book behind my back, but John wrestled it out of my grasp: A big smile came over his face because he knew about Tarrasch.


“Happy birthday John.”

I took the book back from him and looked through it. It smelled old and while reading through the preface… I stopped and read the short biography.

Siegbert Tarrasch was born on March 5, 1862. He was one of the strongest chess players of the late 19th century and early 20th century. Tarrasch was Jewish, and a patriotic German who lost a son in World War I, but lived to suffer under the early stages of Nazism.

“Wow that is the same month and day as John’s birthday.”

March 5th, John and Siegbert birthday are one hundred and four years apart.


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