I am thinking in chess moves. kB to d4. qK to e6. p1 to b4. Awww, crap. Check. Quick, K to...umm. That's not going to work. In fact, that's going to make my situation worse. Dire, in fact...as if it wasn't already bad enough. How about....K to...CRUD. Or, maybe the qK back to ... but no, there's a pawn there now. I am stuck.
It all started with a chess set I fell in love with in Orvieto. Smooth grained olive wood, beautifully stained, with rustically carved Kings and Queens and Bishops and so on. Duane would love that, I thought, thinking of his great fondness for checkers. I'm going to get that for Duane.
And so I did. I cheerfully paid the eighty euros, and watched as the craftsman wrapped and packaged everything carefully in paper and a bright red woven sack. I carried it back to the hotel, and cushioned it amidst rolled tee-shirts and socks.
I flew home, and waited impatiently for my luggage to arrive a few days later, anxious that it might have been injured despite my best efforts.
I breathed relief when I held it, unharmed, in my hands, and placed the pieces in their positions.
It was lovely, and my husband loved it on sight--probably one of the first gifts that he really, truly liked. It wasn't a new pair of khakis, or a sweater that would languish, unworn, in the closet. It wasn't a hat whose brim never quite melded to *that* particular angle of bend that Duane preferred. It wasn't some hunting or fishing implement that...whoops...Duane had already purchased for himself.
It was a game, made by hand with painstaking care and thought. It was something that we could do together, and enjoy. We just needed to learn how to play.
Duane spent the following day at work playing the computer and learning the various moves and positionings of the different pieces. He came home, set the board between us, and began my instruction. "The knight can move up two and over one. It can also move back. The Bishop...that's this one...it can move ahead or backwards diagonally for as many spaces as it wants to. The Rook does the same thing, only horizontally--"
Stop! My brain cringed. Overload. I held up a staying hand. "I'll just keep a page up on the computer to refer back to when I need it."
We commenced playing. An hour or so later, I had whomped my husband soundly, surprising both of us.
Surprising, because he whomps me pretty soundly at checkers every time we've played. I would've thought that he'd do the same, handily, at chess--especially considering that he'd spent all day preparing.
"Hmpf," Duane said. "That'll be the last game you win."
The challenge was officially on. Since then, I have played umpteen games against the computer, and have five in progress against various chess.com players. I am pretty sure that I will lose them, because I have no real clue what I'm doing, but as long as it's not to my husband I'm good with it. This is because there is absolutely nothing worse than losing to my husband. He has this gloating thing...it'll be a week later and he'll say, "I beat your tail at chess." Out of the blue. As in, it's obviously been on his mind that he beat my tail at chess.
It just ain't right. Husbands should not beat wives at chess. Ever.