By Martin ‘Vasquo’ Wagah
As the diversion of kings and his counsel men, and as the oldest sport known to man, the game of chess has always made good men better and evil men viler: in war, to be the captain of your own fate, and in life, the master of your own destiny.
With your mind as your sole artillery, you are faced by a force to reckon: a foe conspiring with his gods to creatively compose your calamitous fate. Every move must be calculated with robotic precision, assailing your opponent from various quarters at once, displaying the valor of a beast and the caution of a sage. To survive, your faculties must be disciplined by the indelible instruction of experience and guided by the effulgence of raw genius, as you strive to triumph over the vexation of your own soul to cowardice. In the end, analyzing a game of chess arouses in men such tempestuous feelings that one may imagine himself walking across a battlefield.
Tanzania is hardly a foreign land, but the winds were unwelcoming: hot and adverse, as if in protest of my purpose there. In the presence of masters, one must be careful not to overestimate himself. The old Grand Master, beardless, white as marble, and with a cold face marked with intellect, towered above us in height and might, mechanically distilling the attacks unleashed by the best of us, and like a beast in its lair, abandoned his half-eaten opponent, to pace slowly across the room as if looking into our innermost nature, our thoughts, as a scientist in pursuance of some character examines the object of his study. Our methods often proved efficacious against our rivals, and fleeting successes and failures of each day instructed us to be wiser in the next, in this infinite journey that is the mastery of chess.
Martin ‘Vasquo’ Wagah, playing in his first international FIDE rated event, posted a commendable 2.5/6 score at the Spicenet Open.