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
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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