Oct

7

Picture of 3 great board players: T. Wiswell, J. Leopold and A. Bisguier

Nobody asked me but the proverbs of Tom Wiswell reminds one of Beethoven or Jefferson

Nobody— here are four proverbs of Tom Wiswell that seem particularly relevant today

1. When your opponent offers you a free piece, it might be wise to "just say no"

2. Smart gamblers never gamble and when a master sacrifices a piece, you can prepare to resign

3. When your opponent (the market) allows you to make an inviting move, remember the story of the spider and the fly

4. Learning how to refuse proffered material is an art, cultivate it

I have posted a picture of Jules Leopold. He was a great man, a genius, and an inspiration to all games. One of his businesses was solving puzzles in newspapers. He'd go to the location of the paper, and then solve the problem and sell the answer to the subscribers.

In my day, these contests were very common. And I often bought what turned out to be Jules's solutions with an expectation similar to day trading against the hfq traders. He often played Tom Wiswell at my establishment. With very good results. He often played me also. 

Tom would hover over the board and after 40 moves or so. He would say to Leopold "give him a draw" but Leopold never yielded and if the game took an hour, he would refuse to give alms to a poor player like me. Jules was also an expert in electronics and ran a successful business

At the age of 80 Jules liked to race walk and while the traders jogged and raced for exercise after the market closed Jules would keep up with us. He was very generous to checker players and sponsored Derek Oldbury to take a tour of the US among other bequests

Here's one of Jules's books. Even non-checker players will see his genius in it. One of his favorites was a position he'd put on the board. It's your move, "I bet you you cant win or lose with it"

Tim wrote about 15,000 proverbs about checkers, markets and life. for our traders. He liked to say "I've written 22 books and this will be my best and last" "I've lived my life, I've done my work, now I'll take off my hat and go"

But before he'd go, he'd look at Susan hovering over the trading floor with a kid in tow. And he'd say "the one thing I'm most sorry about my life is that I didn't marry a girl like Susan." Strangely, many of the bachelor visitors to my house, often when they left said the same

but as Elmer Kelton said "sometimes I wish I didn't have a perfect wife, especially who always knew what I thinking or hoped"

but Tom as you'll see from the pic didn't take off his hat. He liked to wear a dodger hat. And he'd say "but then again if I married a girl like Susan, i wouldn't have written 22 books." He kept at it until 85 when he came up to our office the 2,000th time, and he said "Victor"

"I couldn't remember what floor you were on. I keep going back and forth." That was the beginning of the end as he liked to say

Follow @VicNiederhoffer on Twitter for more


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