To play online chess - good pastime.
Been playing it for years.
Profile shows more than
a thousand games played,
three quarters of them lost.
Winning streak: usually at a minus.
Draws: counting twenty three.
Abandoned games: seventeen
(which I don't do anymore);
and one of the consistently
so that folks with either
high or modest scores,
come to my table,
thinking, here's small fry
I can drum a few points out of,
easy prey. But I'm more
than they bargained for,
making them think twice;
causing a twitch in the confident
mouth, and once a while a thrum
of panic; perhaps sometimes
a glimmer of that mead hall instant,
when Grendel's fist met Beowulf's
and thought: damn it, shit,
since to have a high score
and lose to one who has a low score
means losing a ton of your points,
whereas having a low score
and losing to one with a high score
means losing very few points.
It's pleasure, putting up that fight,
spearing their antics with what might
I have - even when I lose.
Once though, I played one who
had a major ranking - one of the board kings -
such that I'm sure
his playing me was a source of shame
and guilty pleasure to him,
when by some updraft of grace
I was caught up in some risen winging:
move led to move; I mastered the board
and beat him. Couldn't believe it.
He immediately challenged me
to another, saying it was a fluke.
So we played another
and he promptly threw me back down,
but then, before he checkmated me, he
made a draw. Left me with my winning streak,
and he with his minus like an axe cleft
in the great trunk of a tree.
Most graceful player I ever played.