Gata Kamsky challenged Anatoly Karpov for the world chess championship in 1995. Then Kamsky moved to US and dropped out of chess.
Jorge Sammour-Hasbun won the world championship for his age group as a kid and studied with the mad tactician Mikhail Tal. Then Sammour-Hasbun moved to the US and dropped out of chess.
Now they’re both back in action after a lapse of many years. Kamsky as of this writing has advanced to the final round of the World Cup, a knockout tournament in Siberia. Among his victims are three super-GMs rated among the world’s top 20, including super prodigy Magnus Carlsen.
Sammour-Hasbun famously came out of nowhere and won an online blitz tournament featuring many, many grandmasters, and recently completed an astonishing season playing for Boston in the US Chess League.
It’s an inspiration to the rusty old amateur. (I wrote about mental rust here, noting some apparent similarities to a condition known as sluggish cognitive tempo.) Except for one thing: Boatloads of talent. They’ve both got it. World-class, astonishing, that’s-not-fair level talent. Modern chess puts a huge premium on knowledge of the opening phase. Both Kamsky and Sammour-Hasbun are able to play insipid or unstable openings, avoiding the “best” lines as dictated by modern theory, and then simply outplay or outcomplicate incredibly strong opponents.
Ah, for a boatload of talent. Sigh. :)