The Chess Master

I’ve had a tradition for a couple years now. At some point in time, one of the higher ups at the casino thought it would be a good idea to buy a rather nice chess board for the break room. Once me and Ted found out about it, we discovered we both enjoyed the game. From then on, we tried to get the same lunch every day so we could get a quick game in. Eventually, Ted went to Day shift, and I was still on Swing, so we could no longer play. We played a few games here and there at his house or mine, I played with my Dad a couple times, also with my roommate John. Recently I went to Day shift, so the tradition was on. We haven’t managed to get the same lunch nearly as often as we used to, but we’ve managed to get in a couple games a week at least.

Last week, I started a new tradition. At least, I’m going to try and make it into one. I invited two of my fellow officers, Don and Ray, over to my house to have a couple beers and hang out. You know, one of those get out of the house and into a different environment kind of things. So last week we sat around most of the night, having some beers and talking mostly. Somehow or another the topic of chess came up, and Ray said that he knew how to play and that we should. So I got the chess board, we set up and play. Don, not knowing how to play, decided to get in on the action still, playing referee and shit talking in general. He also came up with a cool idea. He said we should play a series, best 4 out of 7. So we got the games going.

First, a little background on the players. I learned to play chess when I was around ten years old if I had to guess. My Dad had a board and taught me how to play. I wasn’t any good, and lacked the patience to really enjoy it, so I got my ass kicked over and over and didn’t want to play much. Later, I received an electronic board as a gift, one with a built in computer that tells you where it wants to move when it’s its turn. I played with that quite a bit, but wasn’t much good still. Finally, I played it in various forms on the computer throughout the years. Other than playing with Ted, I really never had steady practice, so my experience is minimal.

Ray cooked up this story from his past: Apparently he was on the Chess team at his junior high, and they took the “CIF Championship”. He also said something about his teacher being registered as a “Grand Master”, and having beaten him. So he was basically really cocky about the whole thing, and completely confident that he would be kicking my ass. Other than this, I didn’t know much about his chess history.

In round one, it did appear that I was in trouble. He beat me pretty quickly and pretty easily. I was impressed, but it’s not like I hadn’t lost before. I had to feel him out. I tried a different opening the second game, and though I lasted longer and did more damage, the end result was the same. Thinking he had the upper hand, he let his guard down, and didn’t pay as close attention to moves, costing him the third round (though I opened differently and I believe that was a factor). In the fourth round, we both paid attention, but I still managed to tie up the series 2-2. At that point everyone wanted to go home, so we said we would continue the series at work. This never happened, so yesterday I invited the fellas over again.

As I said, I’m trying to make a tradition. Every Tuesday, beer and chess. Not as exciting as some things, but still a nice change of pace. Anyway, yesterday the guys came back over, and we continued our tourney. Round 5 started off after we drank a couple and chatted for a bit. Round 5 was much like round 1, I got my ass kicked quickly. I started to think that Ray was much better sober, so I made sure that we continued to drink and tried to slow down the game by taking longer turns. Granted, being able to think longer is a good thing, but slowing the game down caused more alcohol consumption, giving me an advantage. Turns out, I’m pretty damn good, sober or not. He wasn’t so lucky. Round 6, I came back with a vengeance and worked him over; same with Round 7. I took the first tournament, even with all the shit talking and “credentials” that Ray was packing.

Not one to give up easily, he suggested another best out of 7. I agreed to it, and the first game, went long. Much too long. The good thing was that he managed to make enough mistakes that even though I should have been checkmated, he managed to pull a stalemate, causing the first draw we had seen vs. each other. Great way to start out a tourney. We played two more games, and we both won one each. All in all, both nights were very enjoyable and I intend to keep this going.

1st Tournament:
Ray: 3-4-0

2nd Tournament:
1-1-1 (so far)
Ray: 1-1-1 (so far)

2 thoughts on “The Chess Master

  1. Nice tourney write up! Once chess gets in your blood, you will be hard pressed to resist the temptation. Caissa is a jealous mistress – soon she will devour all your free gaming time. 🙂

    A good place for some email chess is I am a member there and if you are ever looking for a game, challenge me (id: RooksBailey).


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