My Shittiest Games of Chess, Annotated (Volume 1)

My Shittiest Games of Chess, Annotated (Volume 1)


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My opponent on SparkChess was Claire, “your best partner for a quick game during the coffee break” with “a quick and friendly style.” I knew better, though, than to underestimate this dynamo in business casual. I steeled myself for a brisk and hard-fought match, though I was confident I would have little difficulty in prevailing.

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Whoa! Not too friendly, Claire! She swooped in and nabbed my pawn, immediately threatening my knight with a quick flick of her bishop. Wasn’t I supposed to get my knights out early and dominate the center of the board? Claire was suddenly causing me to question everything I thought I knew about chess.

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After chasing my knight away with merely her pawns, Claire pulled her bishop back and I thought we were once again on quick and friendly terms, so I brought my rook out from behind its pawn to take a peek at the situation. Claire immediately responded by bringing out the big guns, ready to roll her queen across my hapless line of pawns like a bowling ball. I knew I had to make a commanding move to regain the momentum and threaten her towering colossus. I started to sweat, while Claire just sipped her macchiato and checked her snaps.

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Just a few moves later, bishops’ blood had been shed and Claire’s queen was up in my business like an angry cabbie. Another of my pawns was gone. Things looked bleak, but I had Claire’s number: she was playing “quick and friendly,” not thinking too far ahead. To best her, I just needed to think several moves ahead and make a plan. By this point, I’d spent ten minutes and 52 seconds thinking, and Claire had spent zero seconds.

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[music notes emoji] I’m coming out…I want the world to know… [music notes emoji] Okay, I had a plan, and the plan was to get my own queen into the game. All Claire did in response was to trot one of her knights nervously around her side of the board as I cleverly kept my queen out of reach of her own First Lady—with security provided by my trusty rook to boot. Now this is what Grand Masters call a “good position.” Say your prayers, Claire!

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A few moves later, Claire was reasserting herself, and by “reasserting herself” I mean “taking my queen while I was distracted by an attempt to grab one of her pawns.” I did take that pawn, though, so it wasn’t like she got off totally scot-free. Ha!

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Blinded with rage, I body-slammed Claire’s knight with a rook. Bam! How you like me now? That was a rhetorical question, which Claire answered by scooping one of my pawns and putting me in check for the second time in two moves.

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A few moves later, Claire took my other rook with her remaining knight, a nifty reversal that I had to admire even as I stealthily moved my king out of check. Now, her knight was behind enemy lines and I knew I had to find a way to shank that show pony. Sorry, ASPCA—this is highly abstracted medieval warfare.

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Aaaaand…that knight just escaped, taking one of my pieces with it. I don’t even remember what that was. Another knight, maybe? That sounds right. Shit.

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I fear my bloodlust for pawns has undone me: I swooped down upon one of Claire’s little sentinels with my remaining knight, only to lose my knight to her rook. Fortunately, I feel like I still have a pretty good grasp of the center of the board thanks to my far-seeing bishop, so things could still work out here.

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“QUICK AND FRIENDLY,” MY ASS! What kind of crappy free chess site is this, anyway?

Jay Gabler

  • Utkarsh Pande

    So how would you rate Claire as an opponent? A basic club level player?