KindredSpirit’s Kaleidoscope: ILLUSIONARY DELIGHTS IN HUMOR, by D. Reithel, Ontario, NY 14519

Over the years I have come across lots of chess characters, people I think back on that I would have preferred not having played.  Not that I hate them, it is just the mannerisms that left me feeling somewhat victimized by cruel and unusual punishment.  You may have experienced such players because I fear human behavior is not subject to regionalism alone where most of my chess adventures took place.

Who and what makes these folks different from the normal run-of-the-mill good folks who come to chess tournaments? I am, after all, a kind and gentle soul whose vigorous spirit lets me play like a master one-round and a duffer in the next.  Here is a classification of four types that make my liver shiver. One is the player who corners you after a well-played battle and informs you that you missed a winning combo, letting him off the hook.  He grabs your arm, hauls you to a vacated table where he sets up the position to prove his point and demonstrates how you could have won it. Little time is left before the next round to grab a bite to eat and wash it down, or to close your eyes for a brief rest.  Thus, you end up weary, unhappy to see you missed your chance and could strangle him for abusing your deflated ego even more.  Another case is the player whose hand is hovering over a piece for many seconds and with me in time trouble.  Naturally I use his time to look around where he can move his piece when suddenly he chooses another piece to move which psychologically destroys my mental powers to dumbness, costing me valuable time before I can recoup my thoughts.  The worst culprit is the guy who has a bulge in his sport coat pocket and excuses himself to go to the loo.  Yep, you can bet he is sitting on top of the waterhole busily checking out the theoretical ploys in his opening manual.  Finally, there is the fellow who uses what I call the clock trick; this guy may be the most devious actor.  It happens after I move and press my clock and when I get up to move about, stretch my legs and get a drink, I see him, head in hands, a wipe of his brow, rubbing his chin, his hair messed up, squirming on his britches, shaking his head, looking at his scoresheet. That is when you notice the button on top has your clock ticking away valuable seconds. Returning to the board, you notice that he had moved as soon as you had left the table and his antics were nothing but a charade.  His sheepish look on his face tells it all.

                                                                                                                  LECTURE  HUMOR–LASKER STYLE

Emmauel Lasker was world champion for 27 years and he noted that he was active during the world champion reigns of Steinitz, Capablanca, Alekhine, Euwe, and again, Alekhine.

Once he recalled that no player thoroughly understood the Queen Pawn openings.  The trouble is you can have a very strong position only to suddenly be awakened to discover you have a totally lost position.  After losing a game to Schlechter, the famous drawing master, he remarked that what he noted in his lecture still held!

Every serious chessplayer knows that Lasker favored the exchange variation in the Ruy Lopez (4. Bxc6).  One of his unfortunate comments was that the first player must be an awful duffer to lose a game using that attack..  He did so himself and  commented: “My loss proves the rule that I laid down at that time.”

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