The Female World Record--Part 5 ("The Beginning of the Endgame"_
(In the last installment, after extensive chess therapy, our heroine Cassandra Aragon had some serious decisions to make.)
“You have got to be kidding me,” Cassandra Aragon said when the principal of her high school explained to her why her classmate Bob Dum was going to be the senior class valedictorian.
“Cassie,” the principal said, “you have to admit that he beat you every time you played chess. How can I possibly name him salutatorian and you the valedictorian?”
“Because my grade-point average is half a point better than his, and chess isn’t a graduating credit.”
After two years of chess therapy, Cassandra Aragon had entered high school, joined the chess club, and had begun to play in local junior tournaments. She decided to forego playing in all-girl tournaments, because she knew she could lose just as fast in a tournament with boys as with girls, and she saw no advantage to playing in all-girl tournaments.
By the time she reached her senior year, she had achieved a chess rating of only 11 points, but the 11 points were earned only because she grew to be a great beauty and often distracted her male opponents from the chess board long enough to cheat. All her points came from odd stalemates.
“Young men need to feel successful,” said the principal.
“And young women don’t?” she said.
“You know what I mean,” he said. It was another stalemate.
“Okay. Fine. I’m going to break a chess world record,” she said.
After graduation, the first thing Cassandra did was tell her parents that she needed time to think.
“What does that mean?” her father asked.
“It means what I said,” she said. “If chess players can stare at the board for twenty minutes in a championship two-hour match, I’m entitled to think about my future for a few days.” She went into her bedroom, shut the door, and sat down in front of her chess board to think.
To be continued (one or two more posts)