Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Gomi Style

[Breaking News: Horizon BBC 2 tonight "What Makes a Genius?" looks like it could very well be the programme that features Simon Williams and Stuart Conquest playing chess whilst wired up to an EEG machine - but don't blame me if it isn't.]

"The worst conditions in which I have ever played chess" is a post I really should write one day. There's lots I could say about that evening on the 17th December 2007 but for now let's just limit the discussion to the fact that for the only time in 25 years of club and tournament chessing I was playing on a home made chess board.

Given the proposed title you can probably guess that it was not "home made" as in charmingly idiosyncratic, not "home made" as in produced with care and attention and not "home made" as in the opposite of soulless mass production but "home made" as in shit. Created from the cheapest chipboard you could imagine and some white stickers of the sort you might buy in a WH Smith's stationery department, I would estimate it took at most five minutes to construct or perhaps a bit less if the maker didn't stop for a slash break half-way through.

There were, if I recall correctly, three such boards in use that night. Quite why anybody would bother making even one is beyond me given that Malc's Chess Emporium will flog you a perfectly adequate Folding Chess Board for £6.95 or a Roll Up Chess Mat for £2.95 if the rigid variety is too rich for your wallet. Nevertheless it must be admitted that they were entirely at home in the dark, damp, cold conditions in which Hounslow Chess Club played their home games back then.

The HCC members - I recall they were welcoming and friendly in stark contrast to the dingy surroundings - may still prefer it that way for all I know. I certainly won't be returning to find out.

If only they'd made their chess sets Gomi Style.

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