It was a timed game and I had 8 minutes to his 5 and his time ran out.


Speed games are the shit, because you can’t not make mistakes. Even if you are Reaganite.

Usefully, it also gave us my handicap. I had 1:40 left on my clock when his ran out, so now we play 7min to 5min games.

Endgame is a problem for me. I get down to the pawn-rook-king level, and R. is always at least a bishop up on me. And I’m not sure how to proceed with 5ish pawns on the second rank.

I’ve also heard of giving piece advantages, like the stronger player starting without knights. What do you say, R.? (Not for speed games.)


Yep, chess. Actually, this is a revisit. I first got into chess during the Kasparov-Deep Blue games in 1997, in which the best player in the world lost to an IBM computer. I followed it like it was the World Series, which it sorta was, what with the commentators and the Java applets to follow along in real-time. I read webpages until my brain filled up, I lost to the computer a few times, I had a lot of fun with the psychological and neuroscientific implications of the match. And then it was over, I had nobody to play with and no chess set or anything, so it all kinda faded.

This latest interest was prompted by running into a chess club playing for donations outside the Gallery Place Metro a few weeks ago…and THIS time, I happen to be dating a high school chess team veteran. Yep, R. and I are having fun getting re-involved and have played a few games so far. We are currently debating whether we should play all-out, leaving me to make mistakes slowly, or playing teaching or speed games so I get more games under my belt. Before we played a game I made him show me the famous 4-move checkmate that embarrassed me once in high school. (The chess dork who used it on me rubbed my “stupidness” in for days. Hypothesis: high school boys are responsible for turning high school girls off to chess.)

Where was I? Oh yes, not in high school anymore. R. and I have been to the park, where he played some kind of savant in a 1-minute game that moved so fast that pieces fell off the board and neither guy noticed. In two separate games, I had R. sweating for a bit, which I consider a great victory considering the years he has on me chess-thinking-wise. ‘Course then I’d make some big mistake that’d cost me the game….but hey, I’m making them later and later!

I can’t stand playing online, and R. can, so he brought his set over to my house. As it turns out, the cats are naturals at chess: T-Bone ALWAYS gains control of the center (by lying down on it) and Sue is a fount of innovative, unexpected moves (such as “king’s rook to carpet”).

That’s it for the obsession check. Look forward to some chess photos this month sometime.