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I’ve been playing chess more intensely for the last three years, and have finally found a partner! I mean we play via client for iPhone/Android but still. I’ve been with this kid for some time and we go rounds often.

Most folks don’t know that I am a fan of the game. I picked it up in high school, my Freshman year as something to do after school and my friend/neighbor and I would play for two hours at a time over one game. Then do it again. I remember when Tool’s first full length album Undertow which, for the time was a long album. It clocks in at 72 minutes, if you include the hidden track. (I tried some acid once…)

We were just playing, knew the rules, understood the goal. Capture the king. That was it.  The next year I had enrolled in Cross Country so that eroded any free time I had, along with my AP/Honors classes (yeah, fuck that shit. Listen, don’t bother with those, they are only for your delicate, teenage ego ONLY) and I no longer could keep up.

chess1Fast forward to my early 20s. I picked up an online client once I’d settled in with an ex girlfriend in Houston. I kept up as best I could, but I still had no idea about anything other than thinking several moves ahead. Writing took up more time as I decided to ditch the cancer that is a traditional job (I’ll do another blog post defending that position later) and become an erotica writer.  Only I became an erotic romance author, instead.  Then, as luck would have it, I ended up in yet another long term, but long distance relationship until moving to California where the relationship was long term, but now we lived together. It wasn’t until 2011 or thereabout when I picked up the game during a dead spell in winter.  That I think was the winter I decided to drink all during the month of December and when I say drink, I mean from sunrise (or 9 AM in this case) to bedtime (or Midnight in this case) and my ex was on board because, hey, what else was I doing?  I was suffering from burnout -which is NOT writers block.

Writer’s Block is a lie. I covered that in an earlier video post here.

Burnout occurs when you’ve written all year and not refilled the word well or restocked your imagination. Block is just a bullshit state of mind.

Anyway, I remembered this amazing thing called Youtube.  Yeah I’m a little fuckin’ slow.  Some days…remember, drunk (sort of?) and burned out. I started watching chess videos and memorizing moves and positions and learning the finer arts of the game.

chess2Things such as openings became important and here’s a hint. If I’m playing white, I almost ALWAYS open with Kings Indian Attack, though lately I’ve been toying with the Fried Liver Attack.

Mid games: Mine sucks if I don’t do it right.

Endgames:  Same.  I either have it or I don’t.

Now I do tactics daily when I wake up, have this partner I’ve been playing with often enough that it’s a regular expectation honestly, and when I’m smoking a cigar I’ll do the occasional bullet chess game.  That’s where you have 3 minutes to complete a game and in my set up, if you move quickly, you gain time.  Two seconds. I’ve been lucky to win a number of games through time loss on the other side when I was clearly having my ass handed to me, but I’m getting better.

It’s a mental exercise that lets me stretch and play. It also serves to remind me of a very important life lesson.

Look at the ENTIRE BOARD before making a move.

Let that sink in.

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