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Graham Brown welcomes a NEW SEASON
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The Heat Is On ...

YOU sit opposite your first opponent of the year and all the optimism and excitement of "pre-season training" is gone. Not that this "training" consisted of much more than some Fritz-Assisted internet wins.

This is reality ... no amount of success solving the chess problem in the Evening Echo can prepare you for this ... this is no set piece ... there's no "mate in 3" standing in front of you ... just an array of neatly arranged white plastic ... further back an equal array of black plastic ... further still sits a supremely confident off-duty barrister.

You are jaded after sitting all day watching QVC and Richard & Judy and digesting 2 pints bought with 8% of your weekly Giro. Not ideal preparation for meeting someone who has just used his brilliant skills to cross examine witnesses to murder, and who sits sipping on an orange juice it took him 5 seconds to earn.

Welcome to the strongest chess league in the land ...

Welcome to the London League.

The game chugs into the middle game ...Look at that! he's mouthing his moves while he thinks ... probably does that when he reads ... bad show!
And why is he pointing at the square you are thinking of putting your rook on? Is that allowed? ... bet it's just to show he's seen your idea! Gamesmanship ... how dare he point at one part of your masterplan, one note of your symphony, one blob of your work of art.  Worst of all chess crimes... he's counting the captured pieces neatly lined up by his side to emphasise how far ahead he is. Doesn't he know you should count the pieces ON the board and even then take care in doing so. After all ... you've carelessly strewn your booty to right and left and one pawn is behind the clock ... And he is greedily grasping his last few captures forgetfully in his slimy hand.

And all too soon the first game of the season is over. Your hopes have been dashed by our orange swilling Perry Mason. Contempt and hate build ... and then he politely and quietly says "Bad luck! I was a touch lucky there, well played" ... and you think .."What a nice chap!"

Your pre season opportunism returns ... all is well in the world ... justice rules ... you are respected ... chess is fun ... life is sweet ... UNTIL THE NEXT TIME!

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