The Female World Record--Part 6 ("Reaching an Endgame")
(In the last installment, aspiring chess world-record-holder Cassandra Aragon graduated from high school without having won a single chess game in her life.)
By competing in high-school tournaments, Cassandra had matured as a player. She finally learned all the moves in chess. She learned to capture material and to exchange pieces to simplify the position. She even learned to put her opponent’s king in check. But she never had an opportunity to mate the king (an act that sounded rather obscene to her), because her opponent usually mated her king long before they reached an endgame.
Cassandra had become a gorgeous young woman, tall, with pearl-white skin and blue-black hair. She maintained an impeccable manicure to highlight her long, clawlike fingers, with which she moved the pieces ritualistically—like a chess-priestess. No male opponent was immune to her pheromones.
From time to time she suffered seizures of chess dyslexia when a piece would seem to jump from one diagonal to another or when the checkered pattern would dance before her eyes. But when that happened, she took a deep breath so that her lovely chest would rise and fall before her male opponent’s eyes and distract him, too. If the seizure happened during an endgame, often this was enough to force a blunder, and the game would end in a stalemate.
The summer after she was liberated from public school, Cassandra told her parents, “I know I don’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of ever winning a chess world title, but that doesn’t mean I can’t win at least a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records. So that’s what I’m going to figure out how to do.”
“We thought you wanted to go to college,” her mother said, looking more than worried.
“I do,” she said. “I’m going to be a trial lawyer and argue all my opponents to shreds. But I have three months of vacation first. If I can’t manage a world record in that time, I’ll give up until I’m a gray-haired, retired judge. Maybe by then I can at least be the oldest chess player who never won a tournament game.”
Then she took a big bag of Cheetos and the latest edition of The Guinness Book of World Records into her bedroom and shut the door.
Two hours later, Cassandra emerged with orange fingers and a frown. “They have too many rules,” she said. “You can’t win a record for the first, the only person who can do something, traveling, or just about any chess thing I could do alone.”
“Say again?” said her father.
“The Guinness Records,” she said. “I can’t be the first girl to do anything and win a record, because there’s no way to prove I’m the first. I can’t prove I’m the only girl born with chess dyslexia. I’m already too old to be the youngest girl to do just about anything—not just chess. Did you know a five-year-old once gave birth? What’s wrong with that picture!”
“So you can’t find anything in the chess world you can do to win a world record?” he asked.
“I had a long list: first chess games against a computer under water, in a balloon, standing on my head, in a Cheetos-filled bathtub.
“Not acceptable to Guinness. Blindfold chess and naked chess have been done to death. There’s even a woman who plays chess while hula-hooping. And everything else I can think of requires a chess partner, which obviously defeats the purpose.”
“So you’re giving up?”
“Are you kidding? Every chess player knows there’s nothing to be gained by resigning. Unless, of course, you’re already a world champion and would look like an idiot if you refused to admit the obvious. But the rest of us mere mortal players must never give up.”
To be continued. . .