'Haven't played for years,' is the reply most people give me when I have try to pin them down to a game of chess, it was true for me too, until this year. But I am getting ahead of myself.
Although my job at East Lothian Council involved planning services, when it comes to my own life, quite often the big things tend to 'just happen' rather than having a long run in on the 'Planning Cycle.' It's true that I planned to retire from work and take a trip to New Zealand and Australia this year, but the amount of planning wasn't as detailed as you might expect. Part of the fun in life and particularly in travelling is letting it unfold... it's the journey, not the destination da de da. I hadn't planned getting back into chess but I found that two of my relatives, like me, felt the urge to play. So I got into a marathon chess series with my daughter's partner Vlad. At the end of series he thought he had won, but I pointed out to him that 4 - 4 is a draw... he still doesn't get it.
When I got home from Australia my sister and brother in law Terry visited me. As the visit progressed we found a mutual love of chess. It didn't look good for me when Terry took a 4 - 0 lead, but I pulled myself together and got back to 4 - 4. The final was a nail biter and I won. Not that it's the winning you will understand... it's the taking part - and winning.
So, well and truly hooked, I wanted to continue playing, but the problem was that Vlad lives in Melbourne and Terry lives in Weymouth. Everyone I asked to play had a excuse and I didn't want to resort to playing the computer (although on lonely nights... I have to admit I weakened.) Then the brilliant idea hit me of playing chess by txt. At present I have two long distance games going on against my old adversaries It requires two chess sets with pieces that won't fall over and a basic understanding of vertical ( 1 - 8) and horizontal ( a - h ) After that all that is required is a good thumb on the mobile. There have been one or two mistakes made, but we have managed to over come them. I have played two games with Terry and modesty stops me from revealling the score ( 2 - 0 to me ) When my running body finally falls apart, I know what I'll be doing!