échec et mat

White: pawn to queen four – The photograph with this post is of the chessboard in front World Chess Hall of Fame. It is located in Maryland Plaza in the Central West End neighborhood, in the city of Saint Louis. The black king and queen are festively decorated for the holidays.

Black: pawn to queen four – This hall is the focal point for chess in Saint Louis. Locals routinely gather to play and regular tournaments are held there. Sometimes tournaments of note are held there, both national and international.

White: pawn to queen’s bishop four – In the past Saint Louis has played host to a variety of unorthodox museums. Both the Bowling Hall of Fame and the Dog Museum come to mind. Both of these establishments have come and gone from Saint Louis.

Black: pawn captures pawn – The World Chess Hall of Fame is new to Saint Louis. It opened in September of this year. Originally founded in New York, it came to Saint Louis by way of Miami.

White: knight to king’s bishop three – One of my co-worker’s, Scott, his son plays there. Scott says that he is at least locally ranked. I’m guessing that he plays on the clock.

Black: knight to king’s bishop three – I never could master playing chess under the clock. I always ended up thinking more about the passing seconds than the game being played. This fixation about time made for terrible chess playing.

White: queen to queen’s rook four – Timed chess uses special wooden framed clocks. Before a game an agreed upon time budget is allotted to each player. These games are punctuated with rapid fire slaps of the clock, to switch it over to the opponent’s time budget.

Black: pawn to queen’s bishop three – In these games you can lose in the normal way of chess, or you can simply run out of time. Having learned to play chess without the clock, playing with the clock seemed an unnecessary complication in a game that was already complicated. Play by snail mail was more my speed.

White: knight to king five – Like I said, I never could master the timed game, but when I was young, I did play chess. As with the moves diagramed in this post, I was partial to the queen’s opening gambit. These diagramed moves are from the accepted variation, not that my approach was ever so formal.

Black: knight captures knight – My opus moment in chess occurred when I was twelve, which is always a good time to peak in life. It also occurred in Yosemite, the best of all venues. Anne and I are hoping to visit Yosemite, when we go out to California next year.

White: pawn captures pawn – I played another twelve-year-old boy, on a bench, on the floor of the valley. I started with my queen’s opening and for a while I ruled the game. I didn’t really do much damage, but I definitely had him on the defensive.

Black: knight to king’s knight five – His father came up about then. He watched the course of the game for a while. He then spoke to his son and told him to take out my queen.

White: bishop to king’s bishop four – This was blatant kibitzing. For an adult to throw the game for one 12-year-old over another was wrong. I felt wronged, but my naivety did not allow me to comprehend how and to what extent I had been wronged.

Black: queen to queen’s knight three – After the father spoke, I should have stood up and told them that it was their game now, the set was theirs anyway. Walking away would have been both the honorable and right thing to do. Instead, I stuck it out, he took my queen and I got my ass kicked.

White: queen to queen’s bishop two – I’m not saying that I would have won without the interference, but it sure would have been nice to find out. You can’t always pick your battles and even when you do, they are not always fair. There is no use crying over spilt milk.

Black: knight captures pawn – Chess is supposed to be a game of logic, but it originated in the halls of feuding knights. Even Fischer and Spassky’s matches were plagued by mind games. Maybe the computer is the only logical opponent, the only fair one.

1 thought on “échec et mat

  1. Pingback: All Roads Lead to Saint Louis | RegenAxe

Leave a Reply