Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Chess Master, Not
I fear that one of the things that a youth of either gender, but mostly male, has to eventually learn is that he is not nearly as good at chess as he thinks he is. I learned the moves quite young as did many of my friends. I took a book or two from the library and mastered some of the standard ploys, openings and end games. I got to think in terms becoming a hot shot in the chess world. Then I went into the Army and ran into more challenges than ever before. Interesting what was hidden under the grime and tin hats of infantry men! But I voluntarily resigned all thoughts of even beginners’ competence when I started playing against the guy in the next bunk at the repo-depot on the way home from the Philippines. This guy was a drunk and I mean he was drunk 24/7. He also was the brother of a successful author. He had "issues". Most of the day he was either reading a book or writing his “great gift to American literature.” I don’t know about his writing, but he beat me at chess, he stomped on me at chess. And every time we played he also serenely read a book concurrently. I quit chess entirely and took up bridge for a while. However, I soon realized that in that game, it is possible to be yelled at by your partner at the same time you are laughed at by the opponent. I gave games up for girls about then and never regretted the move.