Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Ronnie Rubit is an exceptional chess player:
He became the first in his family to graduate from college, taught school for two years, perfected his chess game enough to win the Texas amateur championship and has enrolled in history courses needed for his master's degree.

The same enthusiasm with which Rubit attacked sports -- he lettered in three in high school -- he applied to mastering chess after returning to earn a degree at Lamar University in 1979.

"I just loved to beat someone into submission," he said.

In 1998, with 200 players competing, he won the Texas amateur championship. He has been runner-up on three other occasions.

But there is more to his story:
Today, at age 44, Rubit is a paraplegic, with no movement in his lower extremities and only limited operation of his arms while his fingers are limp and useless. Yet he did not let his disability, while challenging, stop him from trying to accomplish something with his life.

For Rubit, the simplest tasks require ingenuity -- like the way he manipulates his lip to press the keys on his cordless telephone. When he plays in chess tournaments across the state, he uses a 20-inch wooden stick he designed with a horseshoe at the end to lift each piece. He grips the stick, as he does a pencil, with a metal prosthetic that is strapped to his arm.

There is a lot more to this story at the Houston Chronicle. Thanks to Steven Young for this tip.
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