Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A Hard Day's Knight

It's mandatory that chess stories have a cheesy pun for a heading, isn't it? Anyway, here's mine. Yes, I know it's fairly unoriginal.

As I told people yesterday, I was asked to come out of retirement last night to play for a team that was missing a player. Against my better judgment, I agreed to do so. I wasn't entirely sure how I would perform considering that this was the first time that I had played a game of competitive chess since I have started working full time. Concentrating at the board is a big enough ask in and of itself without me already being exhausted before I have even started.

Things started ominously when I arrived to the board fifteen minutes late, meaning that I had fifteen minutes less to make all of my moves. However, with that out of the way, I started playing, taking a bit more time than usual to ponder my moves to get me in the right frame of mind. Funny thing is, it wasn't long before it felt like I had never stopped playing - kind of like riding a bike, I guess. I was particularly happy with the way that I concentrated through the game and the sense of calm and composure I had, although perhaps I could be mistaking calm and composure for simple apathy.

To cut a long story short, the game followed a script common to the games I played before my retirement:

Act One: Slowly build up a position where I have made small, but nonetheless significant inroads into my opponent's position.

Act Two: Find a way to make an inaccurate move (or series of moves) that releases the pressure and allows my opponent some kind of hope.

Act Three: Wait for my opponent to self-destruct, then pounce on his or her mistakes.

All in all, vintage Castor. Step Two probably explains why I will never be a top player, but I guess becoming a top player is not really at the top of my priorities these days. Last night was a pleasant enough diversion from work and study, so I can say that all things considered, it was an enjoyable night out.

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