Alright. Back off. I am not talking about coupling here. This afternoon, for the first time since I was in junior high at Alvin Jr. High School, I played a complete game of chess (Awkward confession: my friends will say that the only reason I played chess back then was because John Dupre also played chess. I can't say that I remember one way or the other).
Laying off chess for thirty-five years probably doesn't strike most of you as odd. Many of us took part in things during those graceless and best-forgotten years of our early youth that we abandoned and never returned to. I, however, happen to coach the Jane Long Middle School Chess Team.
I was willing to take up chess again when Davis joined the club eight or nine years ago, but I blinked, and before I could get the pieces arranged on the board, he far surpassed me in skill level. Needless to say, he dared not deign to play me (or perhaps more accurately, I quaked at the thought of playing him).
Since then, I have watched a lot of chess. I carted Davis around the state to tournaments and three times he played in the national tournament. Thus, when the opportunity arose to hang around with Erin's friends and meet some new kiddos interested in chess, I took on the challenge. I also, cunningly, recruited Spencer K., one of Davis's friends and teammates who goes to college here in town to do the heavy lifting. All fall I ducked playing. Last Monday, I took over someone else's game when he had to leave, and finished well. It gave me the confidence to sit in--start to finish--on a game today.
I have to say that I went down material and position fairly quickly. Luckily for my record, my opponent played too conservatively, leaving a crack open for me to make some gains, and then finally eke out a win in the end game. I may have to rest until January before I play again. I'm thinking hard about that "old dog," "new tricks" saying.