Something Else Dr Margulies Wishes To Discuss

The following is taken from episode 281 of the Perpetual Chess Podcast, in which Ben Johnson interviews the eighty-nine-year-old author and educational psychologist, Dr Stuart Margulies. It was enough to stop me in my tracks during an early morning walk, pause to think and note down the timestamp, so that I might transcribe it later on. Maybe it was my mood yesterday morning, my emotional fragility, the tenderness bestowed upon me by the nine o’clock blue sky, dashing sun and swirling birds, but I agreed so wholeheartedly with Dr Margulies that it struck me in my gut and almost caused me to weep along the main road.

INTERVIEWER: Before we let you go, is—is there anything else you’d like to discuss? Whether it be related to your research or your stories that you—you haven’t yet had the chance to tell?

DR STUART MARGULIES: The one thing I think is that… is something… uh… is another aspect of chess that nobody ever… mentions… that I have seen become very important to people and that is… I had a friend, about a 2100 player, who had… very serious surgery, and was in a great deal of pain… and he said that reading chess magazines, reading chess books, allowed him to, somehow, turn his attention, when he needed to, away from his physical pain and just get deeply absorbed in chess. And since then I’ve met quite a few people who have found that… they need to distract themselves, if they want to turn away, if they want to do something they don’t care about, when things are really bothering them… that chess is a solution to—to… that problem… and, uh… um, I’ve just been… impressed that people can—even in very difficult circumstances—if they need to do something they don’t care about, and will turn their attention away from their troubles, chess succeeds in doing it. I don’t know if other things do that.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah, that’s a really good point. I certainly—there have been times in my life where you just get enveloped in it and—yeah and sometimes when—when something else is bothering you, it can be a great escape… um, that’s—that’s well said.