Thursday, 12 December 2013
The Tuesday before last, I decided that I needed some match practice and I decided that the one friendly club I know was the Heathcote and whaddya know, they play on Tuesday nights. I donned my jacket and I tried to remember my chess head as I usually forget it on Thursday nights at Wigston.
I was slightly disappointed to see that it was a busy night and Heathcote's 1st and 3rd teams were playing. I gave a quick wave/nod of acknowledgments to Raymondov, Sean Hewitt (still burning hot from Atkins duty I guess), The Grinder and Colin.
I settled down to play Rajan's brother. He was a very accommodating opponent, massaging my ego a bit, letting me go two pawns up and then proceeding to grind me down, winning the two pawns back wih interest and beating me. I didn't mind as I was there for practice.
Meanwhile Big Boss Ross had sat next to us and played a 5 minute game against a new face. I don't think anyone at the Heathcote had seen him before and it was quite exciting to see a new face. During the 5 minute game there were a couple of sighs from Colin after he lost a piece, or two, or three. I also believe that the call 'I think we have an internet shark here', was heard. Big Boss Ross got absolutely spanked. Not one for losing, Colin decided that he didn't like 5 minutes and said 'Can we play a 15 minute each game?' His opponent obliged and proceeded to spank him again, albeit a little slower.
I must say that by this time, myself and Rajan's brother had gotten about halfway through our second game. Interest in our game was fading due to the fresh piece of meat that had showed up. Big Boss Ross's opponent then chirped up 'Do you mind if I play you blindfolded?' Now I am not sure how I'd have taken that. By this time my game had no significance to me whatsoever. I was reeled in. I said what I felt - 'Are you taking the ****?' (This is a family website people!)
We all had a good laugh about it to be fair and we all decided not to turn it into a riot. Colin played him whilst he faced away from the board, without looking at it once, he steamrolled Colin again. I think I may have played one or two moves of my own game, I was fascinated by this new guy. After steamrollering Colin (who I'm sure was a bit peeved by now), this new guy said 'I can play more than one of you if you like'.
We were game. I think Colin had had enough and decided to let me and Ray play. It is only now that I've realised that Ray's game for Heathcote's third team must have ended quickly! But enough about that, I'll save Raymondov's blushes. We settled down to both getting torn to shreds by this guy who was playing a game against Ray and myself whilst facing away from the boards. I don't think that Raymondov will mind me saying that me and him aren't the best chess players in the world, but to be part of that, being spanked by a guy that wasn't even looking at the board, was phenomenal. And against two of us too. I've never seen anything like it. I was in awe of this guy, I don't mind saying it.
Now for legal reasons and my own self will, I am going to insert the fact that I beat him in the second game that we played on the night. As Colin has eluded to, I was in short, erm, slightly happy about that. The last phrase was understated. Slightly.
Last night I had the same thoughts as I had the previous week about getting match practice and so on and I was also dying to know if our new friend had showed up. I got to the Heathcote and got the usual warm welcome from Colin, Gordon and Ray who were having a drink at the bar. I found out the his name is Pritpal and just as we were talking about how good he was/is, he turned up with his ears on fire. Tonight, he played 5 of us at once. Me, Colin, Ray, Gordon and the Grinder, (who joined us around the same time as Pritpal).
Me, Colin, Ray and Gordon were no match for this guy but John beat him twice and the relationship (or lack of) between chess and alcohol was confirmed. As Pritpal consumed more alcohol, to be fair to him, his chess dropped a little. I can't think of any other examples of alcohol affecting performance, I might ask the wife if she has an opinion. Peter Harrison joined the little gaggle of chess players and took on Pritpal whilst he was blindfolded. Pritpal lost the position and resigned after being an exchange up.
My only success of the night was speaking to Ray and Gordon about golf and arranging to have a game of golf with them when the summer starts to appear on the horizon. I am as good/poor (delete as necessary) at golf as at chess and so are Raymondov and Gordon, so I'll be in good company again.
Wigston Chess Club
(Frequent visitor to Heathcote Arms until sub demands are made again)