Chess Match

Jimmy hadn't played chess since he'd taken up poker, but when the boss at his new day job challenged him to a match, he felt compelled to accept. They met at a table top board in a park in South Philly on a Saturday afternoon.

The boss came out aggressive, marching his white pawns two spaces at a time straight at Jimmy's black ones, creating a gap in front of his power pieces. Jimmy moved a couple of black pawns one space forward setting up a zig zag sort of a front, opening up a lane for his bishop and one for his queen. After his boss continued to push pawns at him, the first piece Jimmy brought off the back line was a knight.

Jimmy knew why the boss really asked him to play that day: to see what Jimmy was made of, see if he was someone who could be pushed up the company ladder. Though Jimmy wasn't sure what he wanted out of the job, he enjoyed just about any game of skill, and he didn't mind an opportunity to see what made the boss tick, get a read on him.

Once his pawns were positioned to halt the boss's, Jimmy attacked the board's gaps with a bishop and both knights. Boss went into defensive mode and started talking about work. "Ever think about management, Jimmy?"

Jimmy nodded. "Sure boss, I've given it some thought."

The boss launched an offensive with his queen, and now Jimmy had to play defense. He shifted a knight and moved his other bishop and slid his rook along the back line. A counter attack presented itself and Jimmy saw an opportunity that would lead to check mate. When he looked into his boss's eyes, though, he saw something that made him hesitate, like the match somehow meant a lot more to the older man than Jimmy assumed it would. Normally Jimmy would never back off when he sensed an opportunity, certainly not at the poker table where his hard earned money was always on the line, but here in the park as the trees shook with a slight breeze, he decided he didn't care whether he won or lost.

"Check mate," the boss announced twenty three moves later, smiling broadly. "Thought for sure you had me a while back."

Jimmy shrugged. "Win some, lose some."


  1. ultimately he was playing for money, for the promotion with higher money. But you're right, chess is regarded with majesty whereas poker is gauche and grubby

  2. I disagree with Sulci, because I think poker looks AWESOME. I don't have anyone to play with to teach me though. HOWEVER, I *DO* play chess frequently and quite definitely suck at it. Though Jimmy's initial moves are usually mine as well.

    I really enjoyed this story, nice layering.

  3. Did he make the right move? Interesting slice of life here.

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