My favorite chess game in the literature is probably Keres-Fischer, Curacao 1962. It is very far from being a perfect game, very far from being one of those elegant masterpieces where the winner makes no mistakes, but rather maneuvers his way into a menacing attack, and then manages to unearth ingenious sacrificial possibilities at every turn, while the loser, after one all but undetectable inaccuracy in the early stages of the game, consistently finds the best defensive path, but to no avail. Nope, Keres-Fischer bears no resemblance to one of those games. As a matter of fact, it isn't a decisive game at all (in Bobby Fischer's My 60 Memorable Games, the chapter devoted to this game is titled, ironically, "Only a Draw").
Instead of perfection, what Keres-Fischer offers is the spectacle of two battle-scarred veterans (one, admittedly, a very young battle-scarred veteran), two punch-drunk geniuses, throwing everything they've got at one another, reeling from the succession of blows and counter-blows, shaking their heads clear, and coming back again at each other with everything they've got. It's messy and frequently inelegant and riddled with errors and oversights, but it's also a magnificent testament to both players' determination and grit and resourcefulness and almost superhuman powers of calculation. According to Grandmaster Larry Evans, Keres' final last-ditch maneuvers, the ones which ultimately ensure his survival, "smack of sheer wizardry."
Upon their inauguration, most presidents no doubt hope for a hugely productive and yet pristine first year, distinguished by numerous legislative successes and striking diplomatic triumphs, all without messy compromise and all to great popular acclaim. And almost always, such a hope proves chimerical. In modern American history, I can think of only three presidents who achieved anything remotely like that: Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson. All three took office under special circumstances, of course, and only one of them enjoyed a presidency that in its entirety is judged to have been great. More typically, within a few months of a president's taking office, shit and fan come into close proximity. And it's only then, when dreams of smoothly productive perfection go agley, that we really start to find out what sort of president we've got.