by Graham Brown Homepage
The sun beats down on Oxford Street ... August 1994 ... England's
Greed and Peasant shopping Land ...
At the Virgin Mega Store you veer right. Over the zebra crossings ...
past the Kentucky Fried Chicken ... round the Bureau De Change ...
into the hotel and down to the "production box". You are in 5 star
air-conditioned comfort. You are at the very last Lloyds Bank Chess
ONE WAVE OF YOUR UB40 AND YOU'RE IN!
Three quid saved. Breezing past the "lower orders" on the bottom
boards who are technically, comparatively, on paper and by every other
measuring device devised by mankind - better than you. However ...
today you stand apart from this rat race. You are a spectator, above it
all, an observer, an extra-systemic intergalactic star trooper, bored with
beating Mr Spock at 3 Dimensional Chess. And you're headed straight
for those very special top four boards. Special because the games are
mirrored high above on huge hi-tec demonstration boards. The ultimate
goal for the lesser players ... but oh what a bitter sweet triumph.
Swindles and brilliancies that would dazzle in the local league are blown
up to Cinematic size. Into a vast Film of War ... and the heat is on ...
there is no room for error. The screenplay has the pretender getting
killed in the final reel. There is five hours to complete the rewrite. The
King must die!
You sit down to watch them begin their efforts. You are not really a 3D
GM but a BCF 148. Aha! but no one here knows that ... how could
they? You are dressed the same as a GrandMaster - scruffy. Keep your
mouth shut and look intelligent. You're the only one who knows that you
can only spot the really big stars by their occasionally wet hair. Their
wet hair? Yes,witness the Russian GM sitting imperiously on Board 1 ...
it proves beyond doubt that he has just descend & down the 5 star
stairs from his 5 star breakfast and ... Five star shower. His opponent
has bussed it over from the YMCA.
And now how about a look around the other boards that grace this vast
arena? You stroll, as a King would, smiling enigmatically. You descend
on an interesting little game and instantly assess it. White is about to win
with a rather amusing little brilliancy. You smile at a watching GM. Two
chess brains as one in this ship of fools. Generous in your silent praise
despite your unjust place in the club's 5th team. Two moves later White
has lost but there's no time for detail.
After 4 hours of fascination you look up and see the people representing
the other side of the chess coin. An all too recognisable sub-strata of
this community. No need to feel inferior now ... In come the SUITS.Sad
forlorn figures clutching briefcases and wistfully watching a game they
could no doubt excel in if only they had all day to waste studying. And
there's no place to hide for-the SUITS. It's obvious to one and all that
they've dropped in after a days work. Part-timers! They secretly
wonder whether this community of pure thought and alcohol couldn't be
doing something useful. Meanwhile their cobweb covered brains creak
happily back to life.
You look back at the top boards. If only you could capture the magic
and use it at your club's next league game. Shirov, to move, is gazing
into space, dreaming up deadly combinations ... Norwood is a deadly
surprise combination of des&gner clothes and GrandMaster strength ...
Dr Nunn is resplendent in white, sipping from a can of Coca-Cola
produced in a factory in America 1000 times smaller than his brain.
You'll play your next few games in your best clothes, sipping coke and
staring out into space ... and lose just the same.
So enjoy, one and all ... GMst Ims, Fms, Suits, Spacemen, YMCAs
...Cadogan Club Masters .... it's the final Lloyds Bank.A sporting event
where you walk next to the Gods.It's like being allowed on to the pitch
next to Ryan Giggs to watch him take a free kick for Manchester United
...shaking you head in despair if he miscues.
And so to the finale. The last prize giving reaches it's climax but the final
winner, a 17 year old absent minded genius from Russia, isn't here.
David Norwood gives a speech instead and says that the winner was
last spotted wandering across the green and pleasant grass of Hyde
Park. It is perhaps an easy mistake to make for someone with limited
English and family and trainer waiting in a hotel across the park. You
also suspect that the money and fame come a very poor second as the
sun sets on the Wondrous Lloyds Bank Chess Masters.
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