Posted by: unlikelygrad | July 5, 2010

a pet peeve of mine, and: at last! a like-minded fellow!

I abhor being called stupid. I don’t know why, but hearing the word “stupid” linked with my name can lead to rash and/or mean behavior.

Yesterday I was at a 4th of July barbecue, a large gathering with ages 0-80+ represented. Typical Colorado weather: a sudden downpour hit, forcing us all to take shelter in the house. The host’s children showed everyone the location of the game shelf, and many of the younger set began playing games.

One of the girls, maybe 8 years old, was looking very frustrated at the game of chess she was playing with a boy, age ~10. I started coaching her, but after a couple of moves with help, she walked away in disgust. The boy, a very handsome and obviously intelligent young man from South Africa, asked me to finish out the game.

I had only moved two or three times before he said, “You’re not as stupid as most people, but you’re still stupid.” He was a proficient chess player but not that good (yet–I could tell that he had talent, but clearly not enough experience).

GRRRRRRR. I’d meant to play nice, the way I used to play vs. my children–i.e. giving hints, letting him take back an occasional bad move–but as soon as he said this, the gloves came off. I lit into him with a fury. Within five moves, I took a knight, his queen, and then his rook in quick succession and put him in check once. Then I proceeded to totally annihilate him; by the end of the game, he was down to one knight, one bishop, four pawns and a king. I sacrificed one rook.

Moral of the story: never call me stupid.

I did find that this young man and I had one thing in common, though. When I took one of his pieces, he said that I “ate” his knight. I was raised referring to that sort of move as “eating” but no one else I know does–other than my kids, of course, since they learned chess vocabulary from me.

Does anyone else out there think it’s normal to “eat a rook” in chess?

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