Life like chess, or Chinese Chess, is always doing the opposite of what we hope, of what we wish in our hearts would happen. There is definitely no happy ending… generally the ending if one doesn’t have a massive stroke or heart attack, is in a diaper full of… well you can imagine…
Today I was playing a quick rated game, and reached the following position:
Here I was sure I was giving checkmate, because I thought: I play Rf9 blocking the escape of the king, and then I play Nc9 and pxg10 giving checkmate, this was in my mind the final position:
But my opponent began to think… he thought for more than 2 minutes, and I was enjoying it, because I was thinking he was squirming over the chair, trying to find the impossible… yet, one mistake chess players, and especially beginners, often do, is not thinking in the opponent’s time, and not carefully follow up the branch of variations, and see if there is some possibility to escape…
I played my first move 1.Rf9 (R stands for Rook, but for the Chinese language the ideogram of the Chariot is used. I don’t use the C for chariot, because in the Chinese chess pieces we also have the Cannon which would start with the same letter) and Black after more than 2 minutes plays 1…Rf1!! WOW what he’s going to do next… I begin to think, I could have done it in the 2 and more minutes my opponent thought, but I was sure I was going to win.
So I think: well I take the rook, then there is the danger of those two assassins very near my general… but if I retreat the horse, I can neutralize them, and then I will find a way to win the endgame with the rook. WRONG!!
So I played 2.Rxf1, Md8; here I still have chances to checkmate… but I was so sure I could win, which I continued with what was previously in my mind: 3.Nc5. (I use N for Knight, but the ideogram used in Chinese is the one for the Horse, so maybe some books use H for describing such piece)
The Black’s assassin comes near my General with 3…Pc2, now Black could give checkmate with Pc1, so I need to control that square, and I did with 4.Nb3, controlling also D2 and being ready to sac the horse for the 2 killers!
Now Black continued with: 4…Ee8-g6 (E is for Elephant, that is what’s written on the ideogram!) and I was all happy, because I saw a possible checkmate taking the other elephant with my soldier, and placing the rook on F9… BUT… here comes life with all it’s disappointments: 5.Pxg10 (P is for Pawn) 5…Pexd2 here I laughed thinking doesn’t he see I have a horse who will eat his little pawn?
6.Nxc2 and Black smiling played: 6…Pc2-c1 checkmate!! Ops I forgot the two generals cannot see each other!
What do they say in Chess: “He went for a checkmate, and got checkmated…”
What was the real mistake in this game? I believe the Greeks called it Hubris, the lack of humility, the thinking that there is always a tomorrow, when things over the board, like in Life, are tremendously serious! However, the real lesson is learning, and it can only be done through painful losses, which we will remember in the future, when an important game will be played.
Notes to the reader: The game, position, and people described in this article are purely a figment of the author’s imagination, every connection to real people, events, images, positions, games etc. is purely coincidental. The article, also if based on a true story, like most Hollywood movies, is just a work of fiction.
“He” in the article is actually used to describe someone with XY chromosomes and none of the other 72 genders which exist today in US.