Beating Poor Hygiene

Sep 30, 2011, 2:33 PM |

There are many books with absurd titles such as "Beating the Sicilian", "Beating the Spanish", as if you have the right to win the game just because you're you and you bought a chess book.  Well, last Friday night, in a club game, I faced an irritating problem.  How to defeat my opponent's gambit of smelling terrible?  I did not want to labor over the board in a slow positional struggle with my established weapon, the 5 Qe2 Spanish.  Nor did I want to essay a Scotch Game, which I have only recently taken up, so I would have had a lot of thinking to do, since I am not intimately familiar with it yet.  After 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6, I paused a minute or two for thought.  I knew I wanted to be out of there quickly if possible.  But did I have the right to try for a quick win?  After noting that my opponent was on his rating floor of 1800, which meant that his true strength was B-player at best, I decided I would be justified in trying to blow my opponent off the board with the trappy Center Attack in the Ruy Lopez.  My opponent obliged with 6 Bc5?, 8 Nb6?? and 9 O-O? and was completely lost.

I think it would not be entirely out of order to have announcements at tournaments that players are expected to shower - with soap - and brush their teeth, at least on the day of the tournament before they show up to play.