November 6, 2010

The Chessplayer's Widow

The wife (or husband or significant other) of an addicted chessplayer is a very lonely creature who must put up with her husband's (or wife or significant other) obsession with chess. The chessplayer's widow sees her husband as a vague person who is more interested in a checkmate than his own mate. He is studying his board; she is bored of his studying. He is thinking of knight moves; she is thinking of night life; he is looking for mate in one; she is looking for one to mate.

The wife occasionally entertains at home by cooking an elaborate meal for a few of her husband's chess buddies. Chessplayers have only other chessplayers as friends, of course. The biggest mistake she can make is to use a checkered tablecloth. When everyone sits down to enjoy a sumptuous meal that took the wife hours to prepare over a hot stove, she will find all her salt and pepper shakers, toothpick holders, sugar bowl (and cubes), cups and glasses, and miscellaneous foods from various plates make an excellent substitute for chess pieces on a chess board patterned from the tablecloth.

The strong chessplayer is gifted with an incredible memory. A game is analyzed in detail and played over and over; past chess games and brilliant moves and variations are never forgotten. The latest theory of the Scheveningen variation or Najdorf, Poison Pawn Variation of the Sicilian Defense has been memorized to the smallest detail. Yet, when there are a few chores to do around the house or a few things to pick up at the store, or take out the garbage, the chessplayer has forgotten all of this and passes it off as "poor memory." However, he can remember that brilliant chess game he won five years ago to a fellow chessplayer in the third round of some minor Swiss tournament played at 30/30 rate (30 moves in 30 minutes).

The wife can tell when her husband has lost a tournament game or done poorly at the local chess club. He comes home a loser with no trophy or he may have won $2.72 that ten other players received for tying for third place. His chin is so low he practically trips over the door step. The door slams as he mumbles to himself, "I lost to the weakest guy in the tournament. And he was only 10 years old. I should have won that game. I won a piece by move eight. I had the better position all through the game. How did I leave my Queen hanging? He was lucky that time. I was distracted by his burping. Wait until I get him in the next game. He is only rated 1100 and I am at least 1400 strength." The mumbles continue all night. His only interest is how he lost a won game. The magnetic chess set is his constant companion - in the bathroom, at dinner, in bed, while driving.

The chessplayer's widow probably suffers more if her husband has won. He brings home a small trophy and already spent his prize money by taking all his chess friends to a pizza house and ordered 3 pizzas. The wife must listen with interest as he gives her a move-by-move description in detail, with added explanations of how brilliant each move was, including all variations and the amount of time on the clock for each move. The wife must follow her chess-playing husband from room to room, so as not to escape a single move of a particular game, or else suffer the consequences of him setting up the pieces all over again and starting over from move one.

The average husband disappears into the bathroom with newspaper or magazine. Not the chess-playing husband. He disappears with a portable magnetic chess set and latest chess magazine and spends up to an hour analyzing chess games and variations. He later emerges but later discovers one thing missing. The last pawn in the second row for White is gone. Before he realizes it, the wife has flushed the toilet. To his horror, he suddenly remembers where his pawn was (I guess he dropped a piece)

The chessplayer tries to teach his wife how to play chess. But he already knows it is hopeless. She forgets how the Knight (she calls it the horsey)moves; she can't understand the en passant rule; she wants to castle in check; she trades her Rooks (she calls them castles) off for Bishops because she doesn't like the design of the Bishop; and she takes all her moves back when he wants to exchange a piece.

The worst thing a wife can do is learn how to play the game herself. First, she will want to accompany her husband to chess tournaments. Then she will play the chess computer or online chess. Soon she will prove to be too much competition and may beat her husband in an off-hand game. If that happens again, that does it. It's time to give up chess forever, sell or give away the chess books, and take up golf. Hope she doesn't have a good swing.


I liked this article, but it's not entirely true:)


  1. interesting article :)

  2. Wow! Good one! He takes care of his Queen well, while the real Queen is left unattended to.

  3. That comment from an Irina couldn't have been from...

    ...nah! :)

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