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Checkmate: The Grand Finale

21st May, 2009: Like a forlorn Zoozoo, I sit alone in a corner. Everyone in the lab is busy playing chess; those who couldn’t get a partner are awaiting their turns. But no one is ready to play with me. Reason? I am too pathetic an opponent. So I sit on my working desk, dangling my legs, popping “aam goli” into my mouth every now and then and disturb the players as frequently as possible.

Swamy swaggers in. Amit animatedly- and with the aid of several unprintable, juicy swear words- informs us that the previous night, Swamy lost to Srikanth. Swamy promptly doles out the blame on me: “My standard has gone down ever since I started playing with Arpi.” As far as chess is concerned, I have no pride left to be bruised, so his comment goes unrewarded. I try to bribe Amit with aam golis, but he still refuses to play against me. After devouring 8 of the digestive candies, he vanquishes Pramod in just 10 moves. Sigh, when will I learn to play like that?

It is a busy day for me with two samples to be processed. The calculations and planning divert my mind. I am tired and I know that I will have to be in the lab till 9 P.M. I realise that I need some human company if I want to avoid sleeping through my experiments. So, I managed to coax Swamy into a game of chess. He agrees, as he too is bored.

He’s probably not concentrating, but suddenly, we both realised that he has lost quite a few of his pieces. “You’ve improved,” he remarks.

Amit- ever the inquisitive one- hurries over; he is immediately absorbed and comments that Swamy is in a bad position. By this time, Swamy gives me a check with his queen. I block his path with my queen. Now the three of us are seriously concentrating. A couple of moves later, Swamy’s queen (white) is trapped. He can rescue her and simultaneously gobble down my pawn, but he overlooks the chance and in the next move, I kill his queen. Of course, my queen also goes, but now I am in a strong position.

Now, Swamy’s pet move is to let his pawns infiltrate my side of the board and convert them into queens. There have been games when my poor king was stalked many as many as three opponent queens. This time too, Swamy is hoping for a similar coup. Amit is beside himself with excitement- I have to beg him to shut up and not guide me. I am gorging on aam golis– following Amit’s claim that they bring luck in chess.

By this time, my elephant and knight have trapped the white king. However, I have lost several pieces and one of the white pawns is all set to be reborn as a queen. One move and it will be all over. Swamy- like the priest in “The Mummy” – is so engrossed the aforementioned reincarnation, that he neglects his king. And then, like a gentle whisper on the wings of a hurricane, I take advantage of his distraction and… checkmate! Black wins!

Swamy and I are still recovering from the shock. Amit is howling, prancing, dancing, making fun of Swamy, screaming, “It’s the aamgolis! They helped Arpi to defeat you! Swamy, you loser! Yanna rascala!”

I quickly text the news of my victory to Sushma, Rajni and Pramod. By this time, Srikanth also enters the lab and is informed of the conquest, which Swamy is attributing to cheating. My absentee labmates telephone to congratulate me. I am so relieved. I will never play chess again.

22nd May, 2009: Poor Swamy. I wish Amit would stop bugging him so much. But I know that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Now that we have all gotten over the shock, we have to decide what penalty Swamy will pay. The girls have unanimously decided that we want to see him dance and have even made a list of Hindi and Telugu item songs. He refuses to oblige. Maybe I will have to defeat him again to prove my point. I can already imagineCheckmate ! myself sprawled on the floor, with a butterscotch Cornetto in my hand and Swamy gyrating to some really naughty numbers!

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Categories: Reality bites
  1. amit
    May 29, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Nice and interesting to see that what happened with us.
    i think the saying “impossible says i m possible’ is very much true.
    one thing more i have not tortured Swamy after that defeat.

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