The Chess Hustler

Jan 15, 2013, 6:02 PM |

The chess park hustler
 Its been a while since ive played OTB since most of the time im either studying or logging-in on this site playing blitz or posting comments and all that. So to change the environment i decided to go to various places were chess is played as long as its near where i live. Barbershop, parks, underpass, and river banks are a common place. Riding my bike i happen to come accross this particular park where "chess hustling" is rampant. People there would hustle anyone who either looks like a foreigner or a vacationist. Most of the people players there are probably within the 1800- 2000 elo. (i made this assessment after a friend of mine rated Elo 1920 lost a (20 game and  10 game) 5min blitz, and (4 game) 15min high stakes game to three of the players there (yeah in wages). I sat down on a sunny morning and watched two old men play who seemed to trash talk each other during play (things that reminded me when i was playing in the Washington  park a few years ago). What caught my attention was the discussion of another two players under the tree shade. They were talking about how this one guy almost made it to the NM title had he won his final game (a winning position) which he was showing the other guy. I thought they knew each other but soon i learned they were not coz the person who just barely made the NM title was a visitor in the park. The other guy was a hustler at the park just trying to coy the other into playing him for a wager. They came to a point when the hustler started toying with the "visitor" by cross examining the game then pointing out that there was no way the would-be master could win that game of his had he (the hustler ) happen to be his opponent even. Then someone ticked the clocks as if saying "Get your words into action! Play!". And so they did 5mins then 3mins. The huslter was indeed having a hard time collecting "tuition fees" (money taken by trashing a patzer many times) as the wins exchanges. Either one was making a headway the huslter has really met his match. I was there watching unaware of the time. It was almost 4pm when the two agreed to a last game (i was munching on fastfood stuff all the time since a fastfood chain was nearby). I was enjoying their games trying to learn from their playing styles. Then on that final game where a scuffle in the middle game consists of massive combinations ( i myself got lost in the melee of possible combinations) I suddenly saw that the hustler would win an exchange had he an extra move h6 which eliminates backrank checkmate on the c file. It was a 3min game and he was thinking. Then the visitor visibly in panic mode as his clock time was less than his opponent accidentally shoved his rook dropping it on the floor. Just when he was picking -up his rook, the hustler shoved his h6 pawn with his "pinkee" then made the move which would win the exchange in two moves then slams his clock. Yes a "double move" the hustler moved twice and the sad thing is that when the visitor's head came up the table after picking -up the rook didnt notice the h7 pawn is now at h6. The huslter glared at me as if to say "Shut up!". Soon the visitor lost a piece and the game and left with his "would -be NM status damaged". Shaking my head in dismay to what the hustler did, i rode my bike and gave the hustler one last look as he pretended nothing had happened. Then i suddenly felt a tap on my shoulder by an old man who happen to see what i saw during that last game and he said "Do you know why that visitor didnt become a master? and  i gave him the curious look. He replied "Youre supposed to take a mental picture of your position everytime you leave your board during a game."