Masochism, Chess and Expertise: Part 2.1

Last night I had some girlfriends over for wine & appetizers. Four women. Four hours. I sipped merlot the entire time (this is pertinent for what comes later in the post). Also, if you just thought to yourself, “Merlot?”  Get over it. Sideways is seven years old; give merlot another try. It’s spicy good after nearly a decade of pinot noir.

Once the girls left and I finished getting all the dishes rinsed and into the washer (a clean kitchen is so satisfying after a get together), I sat down to reread the post I updated yesterday morning. The chess post. I specifically looked at the amended section, which I’ll copy here.

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Eventually, I felt ready to play against humans. I love the suspense and the surprise. It’s nearly equally as fun to accurately predict a move as it is when someone startles me with a possibility I overlooked. (My current opponent just forked my king and queen right when I thought I was about to mate him; see below. I forgot to look at the whole board again. Wah Wuh.)

Keep Calm and Carry On

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This was move 21 of a correspondence game I played online.

I’ve gotten into this (bad?) habit of keeping chess.com open on my desktop while I’m doing other tasks. Just prior to this move coming in, I was in the middle of writing a blog post, feeling particularly exited about my prospects for winning. In fact, for humor’s sake, I’ll admit the embarrassing truth, which is: sometime around move 19 or 20, I said to Andy, “I’m so in control of this game.” I thought nothing would interfere with my plan to slide my queen to h8 for a checkmate.

Ha!

When I saw that black was both checking me and threatening my queen, it came as an entertaining surprise. I immediately took a screen shot, and built the example into an update for the previously posted blog entry. I found the link to that Wah Wuh sound effect and even posted a link to the blog at Facebook. Because I’m that dork.

The entire time I did all of this, I completely forgot the power of my queen. I had some lapse of reasoning — is it dyslexia? Early dementia? Did I take too much X back in college? — In my mind, I was thinking, “I’m in check, so I have to move my king; my queen is lost.”

If that were true, it would have been worthy of a Wah Wuh.

Too bad I didn’t use. my. brain. I moved my king to c2, lost my queen, and today the game ended like this:

My opponent is in Ireland, so I’m thinking, how charming and poetic; he left no man standing. If the guy were in Texas, I’d be holding a grudge.

The point of all this is that last night, with my wine buzz and nurtured spirit from all the laughter and tears we girls give each other, when I took a look at the top illustration, it was as if I was seeing it for the first time. It became simple and clear. I SHOULD HAVE TAKEN HIS BISHOP!!!!!!

I mentioned this to my opponent, who put it kindly when he responded, “I think sometimes we don’t see the obvious.”

Where else in life am I not seeing the obvious? Where am I forgetting or overlooking my power?

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November — NaBloPoMo — Day Seven

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