Tea and the Chess Game

When I started writing about tea, it was with the goal of showing how a cup of tea fit into about any situation in life. And made that situation better. Or at least tolerable. During the process, I also discovered that tea evoked various philosophical musings from me and some rather interesting memories. Like that time I beat the pants off (figuratively speaking) a local chess champ.

Wanna feel that tea euphoria? Swill a nice, tall mugful of Scottish Breakfast Tea! (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)
Wanna feel that tea euphoria? Swill a nice, tall mugful of Scottish Breakfast Tea! (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

You can only catch someone off guard once. It’s that moment when they challenge you to “a friendly game” of something. All the while, they know how good they are, and they think they know how not good you are. So it was with that chess game I had with a real genius back in college. Checkmate in two moves. Don’t ask me how I did it. Blind dumb luck on my part, overconfidence on his part.

Picture this:

The student union lounge on campus. A group of us gathered there in-between classes. I was having my usual cuppa bagged tea-like substance with some milk and sweetener (saccharin was the only one available back then). In comes “Harold” (not his real name) with his chess set. “Harold” had recently won the statewide chess championship. Since then he had relished coming in and offering to play a game with someone. It kept his “chess chops” up and seemed to give him a feeling of doing his charitable good deed for the day — teaching someone less fortunate a valuable lesson in playing chess.

Well, there is something about tea that you may all have experienced. I call it euphoria. Even that bagged tea-like substance steeped in barely hot water and with some almost past expiration date milk with a bit too much saccharin that imparted a slightly bitter edge could impart this feeling well if swilled in sufficient quantity. Which I had by the time “Harold” arrived with his “Anyone wanna play a game of chess?” routine. Out of my mouth popped the words: “Sure, I’ll play.”

Okay, time for one of those flashback moments (even further back than the above), showing how I learned to play chess in the first place.

It’s High School. I’m in that strange hour in our schedule called “home room.” We would all sit around, supposedly studying, and in reality wondering what the heck home room was supposed to be all about. A teacher would be assigned to each home room period. Ours was the coach of the boys sports teams (he did them all). He was a big guy, tough looking. And he played chess. One day, as I sat raptly watching the game he was playing with another student, he invited me to play the next game. I had never played before, but after a brief rundown of the pieces and how to move them, we were playing my very first game. From then on, I played a game or two during home room almost daily. So, I can take on a statewide champ, right? Sure, no problem. Oops…that was the euphoria of the tea talking.

By the time “Harold” had set up the board and we had chosen who was white and who was black, my euphoria was fading and there was no tea left in the cup. No turning back now, though, since several folks around us had settled in to watch the carnage. I made my move. He made his. I made my second move. Checkmate!

Too bad I didn’t have a camera with me at that moment. The photo of “Harold’s” face would have been priceless! Beaten by a tea-swilling chess newbie.

It just goes to show that you shouldn’t underestimate people. And you should swill more tea!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

2 thoughts on “Tea and the Chess Game

  1. Pingback: Tea and the Backgammon Game | Tea Blog

  2. Pingback: Tea and Remembering Mom | Tea Blog

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