The Gentle Art of Persuasion

The last time I wrote, the material concerned Gurgenidze-Spassky from the fifties. I’d like to follow up that effort by showing you a game of my own, and one that I think is already being spoken of in hushed tones wherever chess is played. I have the white pieces, but not for long due to the battle’s quick culmination. My analysis is that my opponent’s nerves did not have the rigor to withstand my plucky strategic conceit in the opening. Daunted by the prospect of continuing play against an actual chess author my opponent, ostensibly looking for’s resign button, mistakenly offered a draw on move five.

Now I chuckled a little bit at his temerity. My rating is high enough so I don’t bother to politely decline. A scoff or a wry “WTF?” are all I need to convey my point. Etiquette is for people who don’t know chess, as any visit to a club tells you. Feel free to cry in Miss Manners’ lap because you don’t know the KID thirty-five moves deep, but when you come back to the board you’ll still be a patzer. Do you see me laughing? I’m regaling one of my lady friends with a tale of you once calling your mate in three a brilliancy, and she’s very impressed. Unfortunately she only dates titled players.

For those of you without a Slavic last name, an ability to spout precise valuations without a board – make that without owning a board, and a gift for standing over someone else’s board and speaking to them insufferably during their analysis, you don’t need to study the actual chess game that’s about to follow. This is like the red rope and I’m the chess bouncer. Somebody big is here, like Kanye or something. Now that we have people of a reasonable pedigree around we can continue.

1. e3?! Not theoretically an error but it is unambitious. If anyone else played this I would put a question mark on the move without hesitation, pity, or tinge of moral compunction. I wouldn’t just mark your score sheet with the symbol of your futility but I would write the number to a psychiatrist below, which I only have handy because I so routinely meet people inferior at chess.

Nonetheless I can get a French or QID Reversed, a Colle, or Larsen’s Opening out of this. All out of 1. e3! Actually, I can get anything I want because this one transposes to everything on move thirty-four. Oh, that’s not in Eric Schiller’s latest treatise? Poor guy.

1. e5: Black plays to exploit white’s failure to seize the center. It’s only a failure if you do something for which I have not accounted. The early e3 will keep the light-squared bishop locked away for a while, but that’s only to deceive you into committing to the dark squares so that I can bring the pain. I must look positively foolish when I win before presenting the strategy in full. Please trust me that the end would have been superb – for my ego.

2. e4 …Bf5: I’m black now and am probably going to transpose into a Two Knights or Italian Game.

3. Nf3…Pressuring the doomed e-pawn with aplomb, while developing a piece at the same time.

3…Nc6: Can a person be out of book when they do not own one? Philosophical riddles are all I am going to leave my opponent.

4. Ng1!? An offer of repetition. 1/2 – 1/2

So that’s the game. I hope you’re enlightened. You should be glad to learn that Everyman Chess, somewhere and some time, will dedicate one of its Starting Out books to you. Don’t be modest since you so truly deserve the honor.

Oh, if you’re wondering why this game was played so poorly: my computer, or the chess site’s server, wasn’t letting me drag the pieces to the right spots. I figured I’d roll with it 🙂

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