One day I was sifting through mail and one of the messages was from Matt Burch, the developer of Ambrosia's forthcoming game Escape Velocity. So I opened it to see what Matt had to say.
"Hey Cajun," he said, "how's about moving that chess board over about a foot towards the couch and I'll play you a game?"
What? What's he talking about? He's in Kansas. How does he know about the couch, the chess board... and then it hit me. He was using the HectorCam. He must have been taking a break from working on EV and was staring into Hector's hypnotic eyes. We all do that sometimes.
"Sure," I said, "You're On!"
I hadn't played chess in a while, so I was a little nervous, since potentially this game could be watched by millions of people (well, maybe).
With a little adjusting, I had the board clearly visible from the HectorCam. Could this be the useful side of this frivolous waste of technology? Matt flipped a coin, and lost (what a honest guy), so I was to be white. We settled on a notation system, and then resettled when Matt thought he captured my Queen (don't be seeelly).
Following is the list of moves, so break out your chess boards and follow along. The board is labled from white's position at the table.
After a set of standard opening moves, Matt snuck up on me with something vaguely resembling a Ruy Lopez opening, but from the King's side.
1. e2-e4 g8-f6 2. d2-d3 d7-d5 3. b1-c3 a7-a5 4. g2-g3 a8-a6 5. f1-g2 c8-g4
Oooh, sneaky guy. He had my Queen in check. I had to block with my Knight, but boy did this throw off my plans. Luckily, I was able to castle, and hold a King's Indian Defense:
6. g1-f3 b8-c6 7. 0-0 c6-d4 8. c1-f4 e7-e5 9. f4xe5 c7-c5 10. e5xd4 c5xd4 11. c3-a4 ...
I knew I was playing with fire by moving my Knight where I did. I simply didn't know what to do with it. After studying the board for a while, I thought this was a clever place for it. Matt's next move showed me how wrong I was. But, hope was not lost. With sweat on my brow, I chose a creative method of coping with my dilemma, hoping he would take the bait.
11. ... b7-b5 12. c2-c3 b5xa4 13. d1xa4!
Ah ha! It worked! It cost me a Knight, but it was well worth it. This allowed me to move my Queen out, unfreezing my King's Knight. And, he was now in check!
13. ... g4-g7 14. a4xd4 a6-b6 15. b2-b3 f8-a3 16. f3-d2 b6-b5 17. e4xd5
After a little more moving about, I tried to position myself for the attack down the King's rank. Whilst planning, I didn't notice his attack on my Queen. Not again!
17. ... a3-c5 18. a1-e1! e8-f8 19. d4-c4 d8-b8 20. d3-d4 c5-a3 21. e1-e3
Well, Mom always said, "If you can't dazzle 'em with briliance, baffle 'em with B.S." Mom always had a way with words. I managed to place him in check again whilst placing my Queen in a rather unique but safe place. I watched him for a couple of moves, and wondered why he placed his Bishop on the edge of the board. Where could he move it?
21. ... f6xd5?
Now this I didn't understand. Why would he take a piece that I needed out of my way? It was clear that this lowly Pawn was a problem for me. It blocked a diagonal to his King. Maybe he didn't see that it was protected by the Bishop.
Now I started to wonder. What was he up to? Did he hear the words of wisdom of my mother? Was I being baffled? I don't know, but my Rook gobbled up his Bishop like Gayle gobbles garbage plates. This left me in an unusual position. Further attacks on my Queen had moved me out of position for an easy kill.22. g2xd5 h7-h5 23. d5-e4 a3-c1?
24. f1xc1 h8-h6 25. e4-e3 d7-e6 26. c4-c6 b5-b6
Gosh, I wish this guy would leave my Queen alone! The last thing I needed is a struggle before the kill. As I looked at the board, I didn't see much that Matt could do. I dropped him a note asking for a 100 bucks. He said no and to play on (so much for bribery). So I ran a little Queen interference and took a pawn.
27. c6-c5! b8-d6 28. c5xa5 e6-h3 29. c1-e1 d6-f6 30. e3-e8 mate
He moved his bishop from the King's column, inviting his imminent death with honor. I made the Rook move I had been waiting to make all game, mating his King. I gave Matt a cyber-pat on the back and said, "Stick to writing booty-bustin' games, son. You won't take over the world by playing chess."
I'm glad the game ended, I think Hector was getting a little suspicious. He doesn't like us to play games in the office.
Ed Note: Matt wishes it to be known that anytime Cajun feels like having his butt kicked at Chutes & Ladders, he's ready and waiting.