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Today's rhaps is on ... The Countergambit

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

Dimitra Papageorgiou, Chess, uploaded 2015

In one of my first ventures downstairs to the community rooms, I found a table of chess players. I pulled up to watch.

"No, I don't need to play, happy to watch you guys..."

That lasted about a week.

My instinct was to go look for a corner café to be my new office/conversation locus, but disability is dictating otherwise these days. If I can make downstairs and maybe out to the courtyard, that's a good day.

Truth is, I was afraid to actually play a game of chess. Hey—I do scales and arpeggios first! I get graduate degrees before opening my mouth! And as for one-on-one engagements, my record is not good. I liked the sparring in Taekwondo with everybody following the rules, but the open brawling in emotional relationships? No. You might lie to me, yell at me, do something unpredictable, unforgivable!

So I didn't want to play chess. But wait, there are rules. So I hung on, soon had a chess teacher, my neighbor who taught mathematics and played chess professionally. I was in good hands. There are gambits and countergambits, moves that check you and moves that don't. I can learn this. My decades of teaching logic, scientific reasoning, and medical ethics never dampened the student in me, and I was happy to be taking baby steps again, when the process of learning far outshines the need to win. Winning may be years down the line...if I live long enough.

My countergambit?

A countergambit is a response to an opening in chess, like the the Albin Countergambit to the Queen's Gambit.

Well, I have nothing fancy—yet—just that I'm here, I have an opponent, I'm engaging. I'm playing.

That's enough for now.

21 JULY 2023

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