Last Wednesday, I attended the the first club night of the new season. at the local chess club I belong to, Temple Sutton, and duly paid my subscription that now enables me to take part in its activities, including participation in the local league, for the season that beckons. It brought home to me that the summer break has ended and it is now business as usual. Last season, was the first I played regularly these more serious, with the clock, games, for many a year, when team honour and grading points were at stake – a pleasant retirement activity and a nice something completely different antidote to my regular community activist activities. I like to think my captain was pleased with my performances – having drew most of my games, and this against decent opposition!
I have already blogged about my life long love for chess: “Life of a king” and “Chess – short play or long play”, but I thought I would put a further marker in the ground, suspecting that a small minority of the folk who read my blog might be interested. A few days ago I read an article by a well known journalist, whose name I forgot and whose article I can’t find, which discussed some of his life-long fascination for playing and mastering this amazing game, but ending up a sound but far from brilliant, when a clever win can be so uplifting or a blundering loss can be so deflating (Kipling’s words treating triumph and disaster the same – both imposters, come to mind), all of which resonated with my experience.
One of the good things about my club, besides being a nice, friendly affair (and that also goes for the teams we play), is that it has a strong junior section, and they were out in force last Wednesday. The wise in charge of the juniors, on noting my arrival, paired me up to play a girl who I had never met, who had just begun her secondary school. The game began on good old traditional “Giuoco Piano” lines but early on she managed to be a pawn up. Fortunately, wise old trickery came to my aid and I managed to equalize. Soon after, time was called, and I offered a draw but with the advice in normal circumstances I would play on in her position. My opponent accepted and we shook hands. It turned out she was the Essex Junior champion, and I felt some pride that we are taking children from all backgrounds and help turning them into decent players.
As for the season that beckons, I look forward to it, still trying to improve and thinking that by playing half decent chess, I haven’t yet become dolally! I announced my availability and said I wouldn’t feel hard done by if I didn’t play too many league games (giving up a whole evening is a big dent in one’s time, after all). I daresay as I continue my work among homeless folk I will get to play a number of friendlies, and there is my daily diet of online correspondence style games on chess.com. Feel free to challenge; my tag is jrb136!