Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Chess - A Fine Moment Indeed

That's Todd on the right
Our Yellowstone Trip brought up great memories, not the least of which was one of the finest coups of my life.  
The Britsch brothers, Todd and Lanny, who went on to greatness at Brigham Young University, drove their sister, Merlene, and I to Old Faithful Inn to work for the summer in 1961.  I don’t remember much about trip except that we had to wait around for a couple of days because they didn’t want to hire us until everyone from farther away had arrived for work because people from close by would likely pack it in early and leave before the summer was over.  Good thinking.  But, I don’t remember much else.  Maybe we slept in the car.  Maybe we ate bear droppings.  Maybe we bathed in the geysers.  I don’t remember many details.  
What I do remember was that Todd was a little more than weird, quite arrogant and thought that he was 57 IQ points smarter than anyone he encountered.  He probably has wised up since then.  Hope so.  Anyway, that point is germane.   
Anyway, backing up a bit, my brother, Brent, had just the previous year, as a high school sophomore, been a member of the “Chess Club” in school.  The “Flying Geek Squad”, if they had such a term in those days.  Somehow, I’d given him the time of day at one point and he’d shown me three, maybe four moves that would give you “check mate” if your opponent didn’t know what you were doing.  
Todd was bored and wanted to play chess with me.  Probably no one else would play.  I hate chess.  I said "no" dozens of times for more than a few reasons.  But I finally relented and though it seemed too simple, I tried the moves. And choke, sputter, gasp, they worked.  CHECK-MATE!!  Todd could not believe that Merlene’s idiot friend had beaten him in so few moves.  I was electric with glee.  
Not being a fool, I refused to play him again.  I knew he was not the genius he thought he was, but I was no fool either.  I did not underestimate him.  I couldn't take the chance I could pull it off again.  
I don’t remember the moves now and I’ve asked Brent since if he does.  He doesn’t even remember ever knowing them.  I suspect he doesn’t remember even being in the Chess Club.  Silly boy.  It probably wasn’t his finest hour.  
Chess definitely wasn’t mine either.  But it did provide me with one of my favorite moments.  I love those little chess men for that.  There's nothing prettier than a nicely set up chess set to my eye.  Such a nice reminder.

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