High Class Move #WOW555

One thing most of my friends know me for is my involvement in the chess world. I really haven’t written many stories involving chess, when this week’s #WOW555 prompt was announced, I thought that this would be a good chance to write a chess story. Your prompt for this week is to dive within. And so, we see the story of a man who could really dive within a position, and another who could dive more deeply. The final little twist is an homage to my author and chess playing friend, Mark Marshall, who told us the story of his draw with a young man many years ago who just made his third GM norm and beat another GM in his early chess career. So, make sure you read all the stories that are about to come out at Wendy’s place, and then, start voting on Saturday!

I remember that day. I moved my head slowly to look at him. His steely blue eyes pierced my soul. He must have seen the despair in my eyes. It was over. I had blundered. A win and I had clear first place. A draw and I tied for first place with him. But I had found a way to blunder.

I shook my head, imperceptibly, I thought. There was no way out. I checked and double checked the board looking for a combination or a strategy that would help me. Nothing. My whole game had pointed to this position. I thought the combinations had been sound, but I just realized that the fifth move in the process left my queen hanging. I rubbed my hand over my lips. They were dry from the nervousness. I ran my fingers through my hair and blinked away tears. I had fought for so long to get this far and now I had messed it up with that sacrifice three moves ago.

Recognizing the inevitable, I took a deep breath and began to utter those words that I never enjoyed saying. I stuck my hand out and said, “I….”

Quickly my opponent broke into my pity party with a voice too loud for the occasion and stuck out his hand. “Would you like a draw?”

I stopped. I looked at him with amazement. I moved my hand over to shake his and blurted out “Yes!”

I took my hand back and breathed a sigh of relief. Then I asked him in a hoarse whisper, “Why? I was just about to resign?”

“I know,” he replied. His voice didn’t carry across the playing hall now. “I could see it in your eyes. I would have loved first prize all by myself, but your game deserved better than to lose by a misguided resignation.”

I looked at him and my eyes narrowed. Silently, I went through the moves I originally planned. Then, I showed him that he could take the queen stopping my checkmate plans. I shrugged and whispered, “It didn’t work.”

He shook his head and smiled. “You didn’t dive deeply enough into the position,” he whispered. Then he played the moves he had seen. After taking my queen, my bishop took his rook. When he took back he then played a knight check for me and showed me the forced checkmate that followed. “The only way for me to avoid the checkmate is to take your knight with my queen. When you take back with the bishop, you end up being ahead by a full piece and two pawns.”

I shook his hand and thanked him. I watched as he left after we put the board and pieces away. I remembered that day as I read that he would be challenging for the world championship. Not only could he “dive deeply” into the position, in his words, he was the high class kind of person the chess world needed.

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Missed

So, after a week when I couldn’t come up with anything for the #WOW555 contest, I came up with something. How good is it? Well, that will be for you to decide! For this week’s prompt, your story must feature a strong woman in a moment of weakness. Check here for the latest updates, stories and the opportunity to vote! Please note that liking my story here will not count as a vote! You must go to Wendy’s place (see above link) and vote sometime between 8:00 Saturday morning and 6:00 Sunday night.

 

Mary hated cleaning. She looked at the mess and sighed. She’d need a while to clean up this mess. “Oh well,” she thought, “better get started. Then I can get out of here.” She looked under the kitchen sink and found the cleaning supplies. The worst stain was in the living room and she attacked that first. She started scrubbing and realized it would need to soak so she headed back to the kitchen and spot cleaned the drips on the kitchen floor.

She rinsed her rag and headed back into the living room to finish cleaning that stain, then stood up and grabbed at her back. It was a bit sore from the cleaning and she still had more to do. She headed towards the hall closet. The vacuum cleaner was ready and waiting. She pulled it out of the closet and turned it on. She almost didn’t hear the phone ring over the roar of the vacuum cleaner.

She turned off the vacuum cleaner and headed to her purse. She looked at the number on the phone and grimaced. Some clients were just so impatient. “Yes, John. I’m finished. All I have left is some cleaning.” She rolled her eyes at his response. “All I can say is that you’re the one calling me. I should be able to meet you in an hour so you can pay.” She tapped her foot. She didn’t like wasting time. If she had known he was going to be this much trouble, she would have charged double. “Of course I’ll let you see my handiwork. You’re dealing with a professional.” She stifled her laughter. “No, you don’t want to get me mad, that’s right. See you in an hour.”

She looked at the phone in disgust and went back to vacuuming. This place looked like it had seen a fight. That wouldn’t do. She vacuumed and straightened up as she walked through the living room and kitchen. Finally, the apartment was cleaned to her satisfaction. She carefully placed the cleaning supplies back under the sink. Then she took the vacuum cleaner and emptied it into her garbage bag before putting it back in the closet. She hated having to take the trash with her, but it did prevent complications.

“Now, to make final arrangements,” she thought. She looked at John’s former business partner sitting quietly on the couch. She looked around the area and smiled; nothing made it look like he had been dragged across the floor and placed there. She pulled the note out of her purse and looked at it, trying to find the best place to put it. Then she gasped. The note was written by a left hander. She had forgotten that he was left handed and shot him through right temple. She blinked back the tears that began to appear unbidden. She swore at herself. “All that work,” she said out loud. “All that work and they’ll know right away that he didn’t kill himself!” She picked up the trash, stomped out the door and headed to her car. She wouldn’t have time to stay in the city and savor her kill this time.