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Sunday, January 07, 2007

The thing about colds is that they're a lot like cancer. You go into remission for a while, think you're better, then wham - Lisa reinfects you and you lose all your hair. I'm sure I was on the mend by Thursday evening, but 24 hours of being coughed at by someone with a sore nose who steals all your tissues, and suddenly I took a turn for the worse. I think I'm improving again now though, which is just as well, as between us we've used up Brighton's entire supply of Day Nurse.

But anyhoo, when I'm not evacuating my sinuses all over my computer screen, I'm busy taking up chess. Well, retaking up chess. I used to play a lot in 1993 and 1994, and whilst working in Cambridge, I would spend my lunch hours sitting on Parker's Piece (which isn't as painful as it sounds) reading chess books bought from the local charity shops. Not that I was a geek, obviously.

All that sadly came to an end, but as of Friday night I've decided to recapture the glory days of my chess career in an attempt to improve my mind. Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Phil, how can you improve on perfection?", but you'd be surprised. In the words of Lisa, my mind is like Fuzzy Felt. Of course, she was talking about herself there, and I wouldn't disagree with her, but I think it applies to me too. My mind, which has already been like Swiss cheese since 1995, has been closer to Brie lately, culminating in a bad day on Thursday, when I forgot I hadn't printed out something for my aunt, then forgot I didn't have any printer cartidges, then forgot that if PC World in Hove shuts at 8pm, and I drive all the way over there at 8:15pm, they probably won't be open.

Internet PawnSo when I finally made it over there on Friday instead, supplemented up to the eyeballs with brain remedies, I decided I should invest in the type of game which will sharpen my mind, rather than the one with the most zombies to shoot. So I bought the mighty Chessmaster, in the hope of rekindling my passion for bashing the bishop and mating in three moves.

I played through a few tutorials yesterday, before taking on a computer-controlled player called Lucy in a ten minute game of Blitz chess. Admittedly I chose Lucy for her low player rating, not wanting too much of an initial challenge, but the girl turned out to have a mental age of about three, and played like she'd never heard of the game chess. I'm sure she was playing Snakes & Ladders at one point. So that was a bit of a waste of time. I was going to ask Lisa for a game instead, but having investigated her knowledge of chess, and heard her refer to the rooks as "those building things", I decided Lucy was the tougher opponent.

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