Last Friday I wrote about Channel 5’s “My Brilliant Brain”.
The programme included a moment when Susan Polgar talked about making ‘her’ joke about never having beaten a healthy man. Leaving aside the fact the programme presented this dishonestly – it was edited to look as if she was talking about the men she’d beaten during her first visit to a chess club as a little girl – this is hardly an original comment. Is there a chess player alive who hasn’t blamed a poor result or tournament on ill health, lack of sleep or being attacked by a swarm of killer bees on the way to the game?
It was not too surprising, then, to read of Nigel Short’s stinker of a tournament in Montreal (this blog also looks interesting) being attributed by various journalists to problems he was having with his teeth. He started with 0.5/6 and on the only day he wasn’t playing chess was forced to pay a visit to a dentist.
What was unexpected, however, was that Nigel himself, despite acknowledging the event as his worst ever (he ended up on 2/9 - good enough for last place unsurprisingly), gamely refused to blame his performance on his dodgy fangs. During an interview with chessbase Short made clear his dental difficulties were over by round three. The rest of the poor tournament he put down to … well you can read it for yourself.
A round of applause for Nosher L. Git(*) is in order I think. Perhaps we can all take a vow to follow his lead and leave those poor excuses behind us. I would but in fact I never have made up lame reasons to explain away my losses anyway. For example, that game I lost against Barry Blackburn in the Surrey Summer Individual? I really was having my brain eaten by invisible aliens at the time.
* Just in case you didn't know:- Nosher L. Git is an anagram of Nigel Short. It was invented sometime in the 1970s I believe but I've long since forgotten who deserves the credit for it.