Despite being mentally tired after finishing my final exams, working and doing part time translating, hence playing some awful chess these days. But I just couldn't afford to miss Al Oruba Chess tourney, which is now running for its 35th year.
I actually missed last year's tourney, since I was working as a TV journalist, covering a national football championship elsewhere. But I was eager to participate in this year's tournament, which meant that I had to change my working shifts a month ahead. I was disappointed though, since most of my friends - two of them are FMs - declined to participate, so in general few famous players were around including a Moroccan IM.
Beside befriending local chess players from time to time, I also happened to cheer up our deaf hess players during tournaments whenevr I was attending such.
And since I didn't know how to mention our country's pride to them during international tournaments, I always had to take out my ID card from my wallet and point at the small flag on it, to instantly receive an " OK " signal from them like :
" Don't worry buddy, we'll do fine " .
One of my friends had to register "as usual". That man was Hamid Abdulla, the current National Champion of the deaf!
Hamid was a good friend who loved playing chess so much. He is famous of being a kind and funny person who always had his famous "witty" smile.
I obviously couldn't ever talk to him, nor that I was good enough with the deaf language of "signals" (not sure what they call it) but did my best, so we always understood each other well and exchanged laughs.
Once you play him, or just watch him play, you cannot avoid the joy of the royal game of chess. And it was always a wish to play him one day!
I arrived at the hall, tired, feeling heavy after a late meal I took after fasting for 15 hours (unhealthy indeed, and I was working the whole day as well). And the crucial point was that I arrived at the hall late by no less than 30 minutes! Time controls were one hour, and obviously I had to play fast to catch up ..
I hurried into the Chess hall, and looked at the chart to see whom my opponent was. While running to the board, I noticed Hamid sitting all alone on board 9, with a sad face ..
That was a sign of something to me, and yes, I came to know that he was my opponent tonight! Just how happy I was that I finally had a chance to play him since like 2 years (I don't play much o.t.b chess), and honestly I didn't know anything about his chess strength, only that he won the recent Natioanl Chess Championship for the deaf.
Tonight I didn't care at all about the tourney outcome and points, just wanted to play for the joy and pleasure of chess against a good friend.
It was the 2nd round, and both of us had a point, and I had to play White. I wasted no more time, sat and just played 1.d4 after shaking Hamid's hand. He answered 1..c6, he was upset and was signaling to his watch with regret, telling me that I was late! I made a gesture telling him that " I'm sorry , but I couldn't help it ", and we started playing ..
You might wonder why I didn't resign earlier, but I just wanted to enjoy the whole game. I also wanted to see his joyful reaction at end. And It was really cool, just 2-3 moves from the end, he looked at me with a silent smile ( ....... ) and told me with his hands that there is no point of continuing this .. then he cheered me up like " don't worry, it's ok and you must rest and have some good sleep buddy" .. We shook hands and signed the papers. He waved to me " Good game! "
It's true that I lost this game, and to a good player, but it was one of those moments where you get a pleasure of " losing " if I put it right. We were always smiling while playing, with him having his famous witty "worried" smile even after finishing the game.
Honestly I didn't even analyze this game yet, as I couldn't wait to reach home and write this article and share my joyful experience with you all.
I have to confess that this was one of the best chess games that I have ever played.