Those of you old enough to remember the 1988 winter Olympics may recall a ski jumper nicknamed, “Eddie the Eagle.” Eddie was a British plasterer (yes, this is both a word and a profession) turned ski jumper who was so bad they made a movie about him. Eddie ski jumped with as much grace and precision as a braised ham. So, it is with little pleasure that I confess to you that I am the Eddie the Eagle of chess. I’m not just bad, I stink. If I played chess with a skunk, he would announce midgame, and with no sense of irony, that I stunk. If chess gave out a Razzy award for the worst player each year, I’d have so many they’d be spilling off my mantel.
In my desperation to improve, I even decided to read a book titled, “Chess for Fun & Chess for Blood.” (Yeah, I know, the title’s mildly aggressive.) My analysis in selecting the perfect book was this. First, I considered my current level of chess skill. Second, I wrote down a list of weaknesses I wanted to improve. And finally, and perhaps most critically, the book had to be free. I found it in the middle of a stack of dusty books in my mom’s bathroom. Lord only knows how it got there. Historically, we have always been more of a Go Fish family.
Here’s the book:
I made it through the first two pages, but here is the problem with reading a book on chess. The only thing more boring than reading a book on chess is falling into an irreversible coma.
My trouble with chess is that I have three primary problems:
1. Concentration. Who can keep up with all those pieces? Every two seconds, a knight comes flying out of nowhere and kills my bishop.
2. Strategy. I constantly have to remind myself that the goal is to capture my adversary’s king, not seek revenge against my opponent’s bishop because it just killed my knight.
3. Learning from my past mistakes. My brain lacks a chess hard drive. As a result, I’m like Rain Man, but in a bad way.
My niece has six kids (no, I’m serious). But if anyone should have six kids, it’s her and her husband because they are AMAZING parents raising AMAZING kids. The problem is that these kids are chess players. You’ve probably guessed my problem – I can’t visit her. Any of her kids, and I mean any of them, right down to the one she gave birth to three weeks ago, can kick my a** in chess. Can you even imagine the humiliation of losing to someone whose neck muscles can’t yet fully support the weight of her head?
I’m seriously considering giving up the game altogether. How then would I spend my free time you ask? The answer’s obvious: