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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

On (finally) Winning a Chess Game at Barnes and Noble

Tonight, I went to the Barnes and Noble at 61st and May Ave. to play chess.  A group of chess lovers have been meeting there for several years now, and I have played there off and on, mostly off.  In all that time, I've have never won a chess game and didn't expect to do so that night.  In fact, I didn't do so on my first game against a young man who was somewhere in his teens or twenties. (When you are like me, a few weeks away from 60, the young can be anywhere from 12-35 and still look basically the same.)  His name was Caleb and after about 30 moves or so, I had to resign in the face of overwhelming odds. (My king and rook versus most of his armed forces.) 

About mid-way through our game, we were told by the manager of the bookstore that the chess club, which had been meeting the the store coffee shop, had been given a "reserved" area back in the store.  So after Caleb had whomped me, we took our boards and pieces to the "reserved" area.  This turned out to be about half a dozen plastic picnic tables and some folding chairs. 

Caleb wandered off to find more worthy competition while I set up my set on the rickety table and dusted off a couple of chairs.  Soon a man named Eduardo sat down to play me.  Edurado was somewhere near my age. (When you are nearing 60 this can be anywhere from 35 to Methuselah.) I remembered playing Eduardo a couple of years ago. (He didn't.) I had never won against him (see above).  But tonight, for the very first time, I DID.  I managed to push a passed pawn to the back rank and used the pawn's promotion to capture his queen.  From there, I pushed my advantage on to victory!!!!!

He politely requested rematch to which I happily agreed. I figured that he would have a chance to even the score, and we would part on equal terms.  But I proved lightening could strike twice in the same place because this time I used two knights to drive his king into a corner where I achieved checkmate FOR THE SECOND TIME IN THE SAME KNIGHT (ere) NIGHT.

By this time, I had to get home. ("School night," I explained.)  So I left Barnes and Noble with a winning record for the first time in my life.

Of course, I will be back.

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