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…or so says the girl who just played for the first time in about 15 years.

Which means I don’t really have any idea what I’m talking about, but that’s never stopped me from opening my mouth before, right?

Anyway. DH and I played five games last night after dinner (or supper, as we call it up here in the great white north), and I lost the first four and managed, after much chasing about the board and many missed opportunities, a moderately respectable draw on the fifth.

I suck.ย  I was fairly pissed off at myself until the last game. And while I was scowling and sulking and staring at my poor pieces trapped in one corner of my end of the board –four times in a row (talk about a slow learner)– DH kept telling me to be more aggressive and play offense more. And I kept not doing it, because I’ve read about chess, don’t you know, and therefore know that at the height of its form the players are thinking at least ten moves ahead, a feat of strategy that I have no problem admitting is well beyond me. At my best I know how I want the game to end and I’ve got maybe three moves planned out, maybe a few contingencies, and I can see 2/3 of the possible ways my plan can get screwed up. No farther, and the harder I tried to see and plan more than that, the more I minced forward in sad little one-square increments so my rooks and bishops and knights were safe, until they weren’t any more, and neither was my king.

While I was doing all that careful set-up, I lost. Ack.

Then I thought what the hell and just started putting the fun bits on the other side of the board. It was a draw, because I’m still not seeing everything I should be seeing, but having pieces in play certainly helps your game.

This morning, guzzling hazelnut coffee at 6 in the a.m., I realized I’m doing the same thing with both my WsIP: careful set-up with many moves planned out, and too few pieces actually in play. Too busy looking at the other end of the board and preparing, leaving all the fun stuff played right into a corner I can’t get them out of. Not enough hell with it happening here yet. I know where I want to go, and I’m so busy planning out how to get there I forgot to get up and move.

No wonder these novels have been moving so slowly lately.

So, in the next scene, I think I’ll have my character wake up naked and bloody in a field not knowing what happened, and tonight after dinner maybe I’ll get crazy and try a knight fork.

Chess: boot camp for novelists. Who knew?

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