Oklahoman recounts victory over chess champ

Wednesday, February 20th 2008, 10:41 pm
By: News 9

By Christian Price, News9.com Insite Team

An Oklahoma City man once beat the world's chess champion Bobby Fischer.

"In 1964, on April 4 actually, I beat Bobby Fischer in a simultaneous exhibition in Wichita, Kansas," said D Ballard, a retired Oklahoma chess player.

Ballard is a three-time state champion at chess. He was one of 40 players picked from Oklahoma and Kansas to compete against Fischer in the exhibition match.

"It was quite an accomplishment, and even then he was the highest-rated player in the world, so it was quite exciting," Ballard said.

Ballard remembers Fischer, who recently died, as a great chess player.

"Really nice guy, who just had unbelievable knowledge of chess. And then he had just unbelievable abilities at chess, too," said Ballard.

For 16-year-old player Devin Hughes, chess is more than a game.

Hughes hopes to win a state championship. His daily routine includes studying chess tactics and watching past matches.

"Chess helps you through life," Hughes said. "Very few make it in the other professional sports, but chess helps you a lot with math and thinking abilities."