Last night I made a rare visit to the local chess club to where I have moved. Almost all chess I play is on the internet for reasons of practicality and anonymity. Sometimes I miss the game played over the board where one sees one’s oppoent so I presented myself at a house in an affluent suburb which held a bridge club on the ground floor and chess club on the first.
A silent room had 4 games in progress but a pleasant man challenged me in the second room. He suggested a 15 minute time limit. I had a winning position but lost on time. The second game, keeping an eye on the clock, I beat him after a knight fork he missed. Another younger player a Pole called Marek proposed a game. He was a tougher opponent with an attacking style. He achieved a stronger position and was well ahead in time. When I played a gambler’s last throw of the dice, a sacrifice merely to create confusion in his mind, I suddenly realised it gave me a winning position. He seems to have a carefree attitude to the rules of chess. He often touched a piece and then moved another. In another game when I chased his king round the board, he resigned but when we looked at the position afterwards decided he would play on. All of this would be impossible in Internet chess.
All in all I enjoyed the experience. I would only wish to drop in on an irregular basis such are my other commitments and I fear if I join I would be enlisted to the club side for regular matches. One player, an Iranian taxi driver, was invited to play for the team and the club secretary seemed to make quite a fuss that he should bring some biscuits along too.
It’s much simpler just to switch on your computer and play through one of the many chess sites. One person I have played since 1982 is Ossie Ardiles who as with every else uses a pseudonym. I saw on the site one of his games with an opponent from Newcastle. He enquired if he had ever heard of Ossie Ardiles who managed Newcastle. Ossie replied that he indeed he had and it was due to him he became a Spurs supporter. The game continued with the opponent in blissful ignorance of the true identity of his opponent.