I watched with growing frustration as he wreaked havoc in my territory. I had castled into it.
“Check!” I had to sacrifice a rook to avoid mate. He chuckled as he picked the rook and checked me yet again. Another pawn fell. By now he was two pieces ahead. The other players waiting for their turns shook their heads. It was a hopeless situation and I wanted to win so bad. I am not a bad loser but I hated loosing to Felix and disliked him.
He was too loud, too brash and too cocky. Even now he was boasting that I was his fish and doomed to loose to him always. And I was beginning to think so. He was always thrashing me, meanwhile I had no problem beating Segun and Felix was no match for Segun.
There was nothing to do but resign. He noticed that I had lost hope and he laughed, “fall your king!” He bellowed. I made up my mind then. I fell my king, put my hand in my pocket and pulled out 10k. “Let’s blood”. I said quietly. Their mouths fell open. 10k? It was money for gas and soup things but I was determined to shut Felix up for once. He quickly agreed and dropped his money.
There was a deathly silence, like two gladiators we faced ourselves and prepared to fight to death. I was playing white. I opened with my famous attack, the Danish gambit. It was inherently dangerous for both sides, especially for white. He accepted quickly. I had given him three pawns in four moves but I had a raging attack providing he didn’t force an exchange of queens or bishops, especially the bishops on the white diagonal. I cleared my back rank and castled king’s side. He did not like it. I could tell from the slight frown. His game was choked he needed to develop his pieces and cast le as well but I was determined to harry him until he gave me a piece to compensate for my opening gambit as well as preventing him from Castling.
He struggled to clear his queen side while I put more pressure with my kings rook occupying the rank and protecting the advanced king’s pawn.
He was playing badly and I was at my best. I picked his king’s rook and two pawns. I was confident it was over. He fought back valiantly attacking my rook with his knight. I touched the rook to move it out of danger and there was a general sigh. In “blooding,” side comments are not allowed, but the sighs were enough. I looked again, it was a knight’s fork and my queen was under attack too, but I had already touched my rook.
I looked up at Felix, he looked back at me serious ly and said, “touche.” My queen was dead. I started shaking and sweating. “Yeee!” My queen. Gas money. Soup money. Who sent me? I looked at the board intently and I saw something. It was much worse than I thought. He would sack my queen, check me and sack my bishop, check me again and sack the rook I was trying to protect. I looked up at him again and I knew, he knew that I had seen the move. In that instant it was crystal clear that he was the better player and I hated him for it. I hated him for humiliating me and eating my money.
I knocked my king on its side and got up. It was all over.
He did not laugh as hard as I expected, he did not laugh at all. I walked away wondering what I would tell Rebbeca about the money. It was a long walk home. I stood outside wondering to myself why I made such a silly mistake. That was all the money in the house and none was coming soon. Someone tapped my shoulder, I turned, it was Felix. He gave me the money and walked back inside. I counted it, it was 10k. My mouth fell open as I watched his receding back.
I flagged down a taxi, “main market.”
By Jude Oshuks Abu