I was both honoured and enthusiastic to be selected for the Reform Chess Club in the Hamilton Russell trophy competed for by the ‘Gentlemen’s’ clubs.
Honoured as I have only recently joined the club and enthused by playing chess across the board rather then on the internet.
The main problem about the anonymity of the web is that you cannot be sure if you are playing an opponent or his/her computer.
We were playing our neighbours the Athenaeum club. All the clubs have chess players and the best of them play for the RAC. Back in the day I represented them.
One of the features of actual chess is assessing your opponent. My opponent last night was a cautious strategist. I could appreciate his game was based on not making errors.
I duly did so when, in opening up the game from a closed position, I lost a knight. He then exchanged pieces carefully and entered the end game a rook up.
I saw – and it was very much a gambler’s last throw of the dice – managed a manoeuvre on the seventh rank which began with a rook attack on his queen.
If he moved away he could not prevent “mate”.
If his queen took my rook he would have the advantage of two rooks and a bishop against a queen which would probably be a winning position.
He moved away and – when I launched my attack – he toppled his king immediately to indicate defeat.
It was (in football terms) a late winner against the run of play. The Reform won by 3 and a half to 2 and a half.
Afterwards we all had a delightful meal with excellent wine.
It was a highly enjoyable evening and – though sociable – you do play any sport or pastime to win and doing so gave me enormous satisfaction.