Legendary Ray Charles featured on the cover of Chess Life!!

If you haven't gotten your copy of Chess Life yet, you're in for a treat. If you're not a United States Chess Federation member, then go to the bookstore, or have someone send you a copy. Why? The cover story features a fascinating interview with the legendary Ray Charles. The interview was conducted by another legendary figure, GM Larry Evans.

Yes… Ray Charles does play chess and in the interview he was asked if he ever played the legendary trumpeter
Dizzy Gillespie. "Yes, I did. And he beat the hell out of me. But Diz wouldn't give me a chance to get even. I always talked about it." The interview format was unique in that it was conducted while the two were playing chess on a special set… very entertaining!

Legendary Ray Charles on the cover of September 2002 Chess Life magazine.

In this article, he talks about his childhood experience, when he went blind,  and how he picked up the venerable game of chess. Another funny part in the interview occurred when GM Evans played a pawn move threatening to fork a knight and the queen. "Do you see what I'm threatening?" GM Evans asked. The dialogue continues and Mr. Charles moves his queen eliminating the threat. "I certainly can't let you attack two pieces by pushing your pawn again," said Mr. Charles. GM Evans surprisingly remarked, "You saw that?" After which Mr. Charles candidly shoots back, "Aw, c'mon man. I play bad--but not that bad!"

An credible profile of Ray Charles' accomplishments was awe-inspiring and you realize the impact he has made in his career which spans five decades! The winner of 12 Grammy awards and countless others, he is certainly one of the most prolific performers of all time and has a sound for the ages.  Following is a morsel of Mr. Charles' infinite wisdom which sums up his life.

"Most people take their ears for granted. I can't.
My eyes are my handicap, but my ears are my opportunity."

Posted by The Chess Drum: 12 August 2002