Some years ago I worked at a resort in Wyoming. This was one of those deals where people lived on premises as it was so remote. Well, there wasn’t a lot to do after work. One of my favorite pastimes was playing chess. I often played with one of the cooks, as we were of similar skill.
Well, my usual opponent was working and this newbie challenged me to a game after announcing that he’d been on the high school chess team. “This won’t take long,” he boasted to a friend.
It would seem that his high school team sure wasn’t very good, if he was their best example. He started to break out in a sweat after just a few moves as I easily blocked his attack. Then he lost his queen. Then, a few moves later, I said “checkmate.” Well, this guy got up and stormed off without saying a word. And he never played me again. What a pathetic loser.
I don’t play chess much anymore. I never had many opponents and it kind of fell off the radar. Still, at this place I was eating lunch at, they were doing a photo shoot and they had a chess set they wanted to put in the picture. Problem was, none of the photo people knew how to set up a chess set. I offered and quickly assembled the pieces. Had I not been there, I don’t know what they would have done.
Which brings me to my point. This year was the first year I did not donate any chess sets for the local Christmas toy drive. I used to donate them because I think chess is a wonderful game and, for older kids, it seemed like a good gift. Then, it occurred to me that so few people play it, these kids will likely not have anyone to teach them, let alone play with them. So, I don’t give out chess sets anymore. Another casualty of video games, me thinks. And, I know there are really good chess programs. I have one, in fact. But, there is nothing like watching that arrogant ass across the table have sweat run down his face as he realizes his arrogant ass is about to get beaten. You don’t get that from a computer.