Wednesday, 19 June 2013

A few thoughts of a chess retiree

My Wigston charges joined me at the Heathcote Arms to do battle with the Heathcote lads in the latest round of the Horrid Cup. (Horrid officially being adopted by me last night after last night's shenanigans!) All 4 of my team arrived before the Heathcote lads as we all gathered outside the infamous skittle alley ready to cross swords. As we were waiting we gathered our thoughts - at this moment a cat appeared. Charles remembered how this cat had jumped on his lap in a league game in the skittle alley last year and kept him warm in the chilly alley during winter. He was hoping that the cat would clear off as he lost the last time he encountered the cat.

The Heathcote lads appeared, Raymondov, followed by Big Boss, then young Drew, hastily followed finally by the Grinder. The Grinder was against Phil Harlow, Ray was surprised to be on board 2 ahead of Colin against Charles Eastlake, Colin faced Nikola Chalashkanov (who will now be known as Nik C - I've nicked that from Haka Dave) and I faced young Drew Harbidge.

Battle commenced. I can't really comment on other's games as I was too engrossed in my own games to comment. I casted the odd look at the board next to me in the first game, Colin seemed to be crushing Nik C to the point where Nik flicked his King over in resignation, sending it cartwheeling over the board. Quite a sight. 'I think that was a resignation', I uttered to Colin. Phil beat the Grinder and Charles beat Ray. Drew and I agreed a Grandmaster draw when we were both getting low on time and boring each other by moving our Kings around in a King and pawn endgame.

Now the fun started in round 2 as we all settled down. First to crow up was Ray, who apparently gave a piece away. 'I like giving pieces away', Ray said. Approximately 0.0005 seconds elapsed before the Heathcote lads chorused 'Yes he does'. An extremely funny moment. Ray resigned (I think), followed by John losing to Phil again, Nik beat Colin this time, (Colin showed restraint by gracefully tipping his King as one should) and it was left to Drew and I to close out the night. And boy did we save the best until last! Shortly after Raymondov's groan was one from me after I left a rook en prise. Drew gracefully removed it from the board to shouts of 'Aaaaahhhhhhh!!' from myself. I won't write what I was thinking as this is a family website. We continued and I actually managed to get a foothold in the game being a rook down. As the two of us got into time trouble, I asked Charles Eastlake to record Drew's moves for him. Chas lasted about 2 or 3 moves before he gave up as Drew and I were playing extremely fast. Drew took a pawn which allowed me to win the rook back and in the most horrid (I choose the adjective carefully!) of rapidplay endings I queened a pawn, with check, which I proudly announced was mate. A few grumblings occurred and I heard 'That's not mate', at which point Drew picked up my newly queened pawn and removed it from the board, taking it with his King. The laughter around the room was deafening. I had simply overlooked this move in time trouble. We both had less than a minute left by this point and in a dead drawn position, we agreed a draw. I had snatched a draw from the jaws of victory. A good result for me - more often than not, I snatch a defeat from the jaws of victory!

At this point, I should pay due respect to my opponent, Drew Harbidge. I do hope that he reads this. Heathcote have a very promising young junior in their ranks. Drew, I hope that you carry on with your chess this year, keep smiling and keep enjoying the game young man. If I had beaten you in that last game, it would have been totally unjust. A drawn match between us was a very fair result.

Thanks to all of the Heathcote boys for the warm welcome as always, I even managed to get my boys to help you tidy up! I am now retiring from chess until the next game after last night's fun and games.

Ben Vaughan
Wigston Chess Club

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