The Open File
by Life Master Mike Petersen (Zug)
The Troll Under My Chessboard
I have come to the conclusion that William Shakespeare played chess. This may not seem to be a startling revelation to you, but there's more. It is my decided opinion that he played the Sicilian Defense - and one line in particular - the Najdorf. Of course, he wouldn't have called it the "Najdorf" because Miguel was not his contemporary. As a matter of fact, I will wager to say that he played the Poison Pawn variation. How could I know that, you may ask. Fair enough. Since there are no known game scores in existence of William Shakespeare playing the Sicilian Defense, Najdorf, Poisoned Pawn variation, how do I know this? Well, gee, haven't you read any of his works? Don't you recall the line, "b2 or not b2, that is the question!"
Look, don't be amazed. I came to this conclusion above only after careful consideration. I have lots of thoughts like that. For example, I've often pondered about the kinds of people who don't play chess. For the most part, I would imagine that they have families, go to work, like certain sports, etc. just like normal people (i.e. - people who do play chess.) I have tried to imagine what happened in their lives to deprive them of the ultimate in leisure activities. Does this mean that they read books that are about people and places rather than variations? Do they read Life and People rather than Chess Life and The Open File column? How can they be happy? Maybe it's the old maxim "They don't know what they're missing." Too bad.
I also have thought about the diet of a chessplayer. Of course, there isn't much to think about. Question: What did the weekend chessplayer do for food before the advent of fast food restaurants? Did he bring sandwiches? Did his Mom bring him soup during the games? Maybe that's why we read stories of how some of the old masters died by starvation. Not because they were poor, but because there was no time to eat between rounds!
I also know that we chessplayers are, as a rule, more intelligent than the average. But we never show it! Off we go to chess tournaments with just a simple "bye" or "see you Sunday night." Well, let's get clever. How about changing around a few of the foreign language methods of saying goodbye. Here are some examples: My feet are stained. Old reservoirs. I'll steal yer Visa. Brain has no chess.
I wasn't going to write this column this week, but the Troll that lives under my chessboard made me do it.