I organized a chess club and a team
once upon a time in my college days.
On occasional weekends we would go
to team chess events, often quite a ways.
On the team of four I was the first board,
which meant I was the best player we had.
Unfortunately, that was no great claim,
as a group we were a mark above bad.
Still, we would get a win or draw each round
and celebrated when we won a match.
When we won a share of cash in our class
we were sure it was a great upset catch.
One game in particular I recall;
my opponent thought and moved very slow
while I played my moves very rapidly.
As we played I saw his discomfort grow.
The simple fact was as he planned each move
I was able to figure it first and
by the time he actually played it
I already had my reply in hand.
I gained a positional advantage
and saw a combination I could play.
Eagerly, I plunged in with my Castle
forgetting my Knight should’ve led the way.
I realized my mistake; if he did
as well, I was in trouble. If he took
my Castle I came off worse in the trade.
I had to hope he did not take my Rook.
I kept a smile on my face and waited,
looking at parts of the board and chessmen
as if plotting to spring the trap I’d set;
some deep, involved plan far beyond his ken.
He thought long, looked miserably at me,
and then he thought some more; my mood improved.
At the end of an agonizingly
Long think time (for him and for me) he moved.
He had not taken it! I quickly pounced
and exploited the advantage I’d won.
With a very few additional moves,
his position caved in and he was done.
I firmly believe he saw the right move,
but convinced himself I had some reply
he could not fathom and so shied away;
and that was all I needed to get by.