If there were a decathalon of table games, Walter Browne would take gold.
Browne — dubbed “Six-Time” because that’s how often he won the US chess championship — was also a consummate player of poker, Scrabble, backgammon — you name it.
In his entertaining book, “The Stress of Chess,” he describes growing up in New York in the 1960s, with rival multigame masters like Paul Magriel .
By age 14, his parents “were so concerned about my obsession for chess they sent me to see a ‘shrink,’ ” he writes. That lasted six sessions, until his parents realized the psychiatrist spent most of the time getting chess lessons.
On one occasion, Browne played chess and poker for 2 1/2 days straight, until he blundered away his queen in a chess game.
Bobby Fischer invited him to Grossinger’s, in the Catskills, to prepare for the 1972 world championship match — by playing pool and table tennis, as well as looking at chess.
He didn’t hear from Fischer again until 1981, when he turned up at Browne’s Berkeley, Calif., home. “We played a game of pool, but he never got a shot” as Browne ran the table from the break. The next day, Fischer spent “five or six hours” using Browne’s phone, and then left in a huff, never to contact Browne again, when his host objected.
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