Dear Mr Crabby Old Chessplayer #7

Dear Crabby Guy: OMG it’s me again – Chad! Remember?

Well super sad face here today, Mr C.

Numero Uno, the World Open didn’t work out so good for the Chadster. 4 points, no prize, lots of cheddar down the tubes. Not sure what went wrong.

But mostly I am writing for Numero Two-oh, I have been looking at grandmaster games and reading grandmaster interviews and it’s SUCH A DOWNER! “Booked up to move 24, found a TN with my pet Fritz, white’s got a slight pull in this ending, blah blah blah” – seriously it’s like they’re playing a different game here! I mean seriously ENDGAMES? Barf city!

Pals forever,


Dear Chad: Sigh. Only a person with Asperger’s would write to me twice.

Yes, they’re playing a different game. Their game is called “chess”. I’d call yours “oh please” or “seriously?”

Chad, I’m not a master, but I have glimpsed behind the curtain. This week I played white in a King’s Indian, Bayonet Attack against a strong Senior Master, with an IM watching from the next board. We did a postmortem together and the IM sat in. (Listening to them discuss was like being an American in a French cafe, and you only took 1 semester of French. You recognize some of the words and ideas, but overall you only vaguely grasp their meaning.)

Here’s the thing: Your elementary blunders, your incredibly hamfisted positional tripe, beating these mistakes isn’t that interesting for them. In their world, the 18 moves of theory lead to an incredibly rich position that’s full of ideas for both sides. They haven’t squeezed the life out of the game with their computers; they’re simply interested in the really complex game that you can’t see because you’re busy dropping both your knights.

I was equal after maybe 24 moves, but the glib “equal” you might avoid in NCO doesn’t have anything to do with “drawn”. My opponent showed me about a zillion endgame variations I never saw. Ideas I didn’t even suspect to be lurking on the board. In the end I lost, and I hate losing, but this I didn’t actually mind so much because of that glimpse behind the curtain.

Most of the time, you and me my friend Chad, we’re like a rabbit getting strafed by an airplane. We might blame the computers or the theory, but the truth is we have no idea what just hit us. None whatsoever.


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