If I was on a roll then I couldn’t stop. And if I was losing, I’d have to keep playing until I started winning again. I’d have intermittent breaks for “meetings” with people who thought they were my co-workers. I’d keep playing until midnight, 1am, 2am, all night sometimes, and stumble home just to change clothes. It was ugly and I was scared.
Scared because the truth finally hit me. It was never going away. It’s not as if this internet chess club was a temporary thing. This was here for ever and it was only going to get worse.
Finally, a friend of mine helped wean me off the online chess server. He showed me a piece of software called Mosaic, which could download and format images and text off the internet. Also audio, but only if you wanted to wait two hours for a download. The worldwide web was just starting and there were maybe a few hundred websites at the time.
During this period, I would take the occasional bathroom break from my
chess games and I’d see another guy wandering the halls around midnight or so. He told me he was working on something that could read text and catalogue it and he was testing it out by retrieving pages from the few websites there were. He was hoping for government funding so he could work on his little hobby during the day.
“Yeah, right,” I thought to myself as I locked my office door behind me for another session of one-minute chess. “Good luck with that.”
He went back to his computer, which was named lycos.cs.cmu.edu and eventually became the computer for the search engine he created, Lycos. It helped his net worth top 9 figures by 1997.
He eventually relates his story to being "one click away from internet fortune."
This is quite a cool chess picture ... it's literally cool.
A landscaping idea for my backyard.