132. less than a week until Christmas…

…until Christmas is over. And not a moment too soon.

I’m in a really pissy mood, not just because of Christmas but also because of that stupid game called Chess. Truth be told, the game isn’t stupid, it’s stupid players like me who end up pushing all the wrong pieces at the wrong time and end up getting wiped off the board in a manner not unlike watching a pit bull trouncing a chihuahua. It’s embarrassing and frustrating and the worst part is, I have no one to blame but myself.

This happens all the time. I decide to take up chess again (hey, it beats channel surfing, couch potato) and it starts out so innocently. One game every other night – sometimes I win, most times I lose. And then I start getting better again (once I’ve dusted the cobwebs off) and I start winning a bit more than I lose. And then obsession takes over. I’m playing three, four, five games every night. And I get a bit better still. And then I’m playing right after I get home from work and then after dinner and then again before bed.

And then something strange happens. I don’t know if it’s because of over-confidence or neurosis, or the fact that I’m so wrapped up in the game that I’m not just playing for fun anymore – I’ve got my self-esteem tied into it. Whatever it is, I start playing like shit. It’s like every piece I move ends up evaporating off of the board. And it kills me because I know I can play better than that. And so I play some more and it’s like the more I play, the worse I get. It’s like I can hear the pieces groan when I move them – I can see them calling their insurance agents, on their little wooden cell phones, making sure their policy is paid up so their spouse will have something to live on after I’ve cast them onto some vulnerable square, sealing their doom.

I don’t know how many games I’ve played tonight but I lost just about every one of them. A couple of those losses were to players who were obviously better than me but for most of those games, I should have at least been able to put up a good fight. And the few games I did win were to players who were new to the game. Savoring a victory like that is like feeling superior to the roach you just smashed under your slipper. At one point my rating actually got down BELOW 1100. That’s like Koko the gorilla level chess. That’s like third grade reading level chess. That’s like a Geo Metro entering NASCAR.

This has happened to me before. Chess has sunk its teeth into these dendrites and neurons in the past, twisting them into sickly, obsessive knots. This has happened to me before and I know what I must do to repair. I’ve got to put the stupid game down and let it rest. Even though the skills I’ve sharpened will go rusty and dull again, I have to stop playing for a while – just walk away and remember, once again, that most really good chess players are neurotic, annoying, and tell bad jokes. They have bad manners, bad complexion, and bad breath because they have bad gums because they’d rather study variations on variations of obscure openings than brush their teeth. I don’t want to end up like them. Besides, I bet they don’t play drums in a really kick-ass rock band like I do, so there!

Okay, I feel better already.

Great. Now back to building my self-esteem through my blog count.


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