Sunday, September 30, 2007

Down with Kibbitzing!

As a young teenager I played innumerable chess games with my friends. Then I discovered the Lynbrook, Long island VFW Tuesday Night Chess Club, my first exposure to somewhat organized chess pleasure. My strongest chess-playing friend joined the club with me, and I believe the middle-aged and older club members found us refreshing. There we had an experience that has repeated itself several times in my life. The strongest player (before we arrived, anyway) was an inveterate kibbitzer, offering his opinions loudly on other games in the middle of play. It's usually a very strong player who feels he has the right to kibbitz. But his advice does not nearly represent his full abilities; I think that's because these are not his games, so he's not thinking about them seriously enough. Anyway, as I'm sure you know, kibbitzing is annoying, so we decided to get even with him.

My friend and I memorized a great brilliancy, Lasker-Napier (1904). We were quite familiar with this game and had played it over while reading some decent analysis. The next time the kibbitzer sat down at our table, we reset the pieces and began to play this game right in front of him.

We REVELED in his stupid comments! He had no idea how brilliantly Lasker was playing, and he often congratulated me (I was playing Lasker's opponent) on my wise moves. At the end of the game he shook his head and announced that I should never have lost. after that, we felt we had ground this kibitzer right into the dust, even though he had no idea what had happened.

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