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Monday, May 3, 2010

The Chess Set

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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.


Rachel said...

HA! I get this. I truly do. I played The SM once in Risk. Kicked his trash and refuse to play him ever again just so I can gloat and tell everyone that I beat him at Risk. :)

The Empress said...

Oh, my gosh: I wish I were you for one day. My 3 boys can each beat me in chess.

My fault: I signed them up for nerdy summer chess camp at age 5. You learn early, you learn so you never forget.

Just once: to beat one of them. Just to see the look on their face.

Cheryl said...

Things are just the opposite here except we don't play chess. THAT just might be a game he could win! I don't gloat, but the way he reacts to losing is just so sad it's hardly worth playing.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I once had a boyfriend who I could beat at darts most often. But I couldn't talk trash 'til after the game was over because he always came back with a vengeance and beat me bad if I talked smack in the middle of a game.

As for chess, my first graders will soon be better than me now that they've instituted it at my school for any kids that want to play!

Anaise said...

My sweetheart plays to win--I don't (but I prefer to win)--so we don't play.

Unless we're playing with the kids.

May you and Duane always be even. :)

Richard & Natalie said...

Husbands should never beat their wives at anything, except being the best daddy. Even that is questionable.... ;)

Just SO said...

My husband is very competitive and I'm competitive but if I lose I do it gracefully. Him? Not so much. That wasn't one of the lessons learned at his house. In fact he refuses to play Skipbo with me because I kicked his trash at that when we were first married.

PMC said...

LOL. My heck that is funny. Kick his butt Lori!!!! And then put sticky notes up all over the house that say, "I win! I win!". And then sing, "I am the champion! I am the champion..." And if he asks to play again after that...politely decline and declare yourself the 'Reigning Champion' for all time. Forever.

The End.

Lori said...

Rach--dude--I have not played Risk since I was a kid. Isn't it fun whooping up on your husband? ;)

Empress--I'm sure your boys could beat me, too ;)...it sounds like they are waaaay beyond me already.

Cheryl--so much ego...so little time. :)

Leslie--I think that is so cool that your school has instituted an elem. chess club. What a way to teach logical thinking and reasoning abilities! And I can't talk trash until the game is over, either (hence the post)...all it does is spur him on.

Anaise--my problem is that both Duane and I are super-competitive. It's not a bad problem to have, though, on the grand scheme of things. We had some great dates when younger playing softball and basketball.

Natalie--the perfect competition! ;)

Shanna-that is too funny. The Skipbo Queen...

Misty--I can do a killer "We Are the Champions," believe me. I rock.

Teachinfourth said...

Okay, SOMEBODY has to be Duane's advocate…there are times when those of the female persuasion do need to be taken down a notch - and Lori? Hmmm…

Enough said.

I'm rooting for the D-Ster on this one.

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