January 2013 Bar Bulletin
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Profile / Bob Ferguson

The Next Challenge

By David Perez


Bob Ferguson had looked forward to this moment for years - the opportunity to challenge a renowned Grandmaster in chess.

Since he was a young boy, Ferguson had been honing his chess skills. After graduating from high school, Ferguson was determined - perhaps to his parents' chagrin - to be a professional chess player. He worked all summer on a farm in Oakville to save enough money to pay for a plane ticket to Europe. He packed his bags and joined the international chess circuit.

And now he was in West Berlin playing the match of his life against a former Hungarian national champion whose matches Ferguson had read about as a kid. This was his David v. Goliath moment.

After four hours, the players reached a position where it was impossible for Ferguson to win. The best he could hope for was a draw - and the odds were stacked against him. The Grandmaster could take as long as he wanted to test this 19-year-old's defenses, set traps and wait for Ferguson to make a mistake. One wrong move from Ferguson and it was over.

Bob Ferguson didn't give up.

After 10 hours and 100 moves - the longest game in Ferguson's life - the Hungarian Grandmaster extended his hand, offering Ferguson a draw. He said three words that would stick with Ferguson for the rest of his life.

"You fought hard."

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