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Winning Ugly is Superior to Losing Beautifully

I was getting absolutely destroyed in this game of Chess. The opponent played a crazy reckless attacking style, but my mind wasn't running fast enough to keep up with the pace of the game.

You can see he has two queens and a rook to my one rook, but then he decided to take all of my pieces before ending... or something. He had numerous opportunities to trade off a queen for my last rook, but didn't do so. He could've checkmated me a number of times, but didn't do so.

So I moved my king around out of the way of checks, leaving my rook just to sit there. He doesn't take it, and gradually picks off all my pieces. Then, bam, I dump my rook on the back row, checkmating him. What a ridiculous victory.

A few lessons here -

A game of chess

On minimalift

At the time of writing, I'm playing a game of chess online. All I know about my opponent is gleaned from his profile; we have had no direct communication. He is an 84-year old man from Israel, and he wins more games than he loses. The game is almost over.

I am going to win, and we both know this, but it takes 4-5 moves for me to make a single step of progress. He threatens and obstructs me every step of the way and I know he won't submit. The man only makes one move a day. Given his age, I am hoping to beat him before he dies.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about this man. The life he's lived, the things he's seen, and his approach to chess. He's captured my imagination. I can see him walking through the streets, stopping in a cafe for a coffee, conversing with the locals. Maybe he plays chess there too. He is stubborn and relentless, even now in his diminished strength. He contemplates every move and will not be hurried (not that I have tried to hurry him). Earlier, when the field of play was more level, I considered making small mistakes to give the elderly gent an upper hand. I figured he would enjoy the victory more than I. After talking it over (yes, I talk these crazy things over with others) it was decided that the best thing to do was to play my best. He didn't come here for allowances or special treatment, he came here for the challenge and a realistic measure of his ability. I hope youngsters will afford me the same treatment when I am older.

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