Checkmate, Beth Harmon – The Boston Globe


Oh, wait. I forgot the identity of the burner that I created in order to be able to play during the aforementioned suspensions. This person has played 45 games, which puts us in about 10 full days on the board.

Well, at least I don’t snort cocaine or watch “Nurse Jackie”.

Chess has become a thing, as you have no doubt been informed. Chess.comthe number of daily active users has increased from 2.3 million to 3.6 million, and 125,000 new members are signing up every day. The miniseries in seven episodes “The Queen’s Gambit”Has attracted record audiences on Netflix, and suddenly chess sets are selling in stores and online.

This is what the addiction looks like: I played the 5-year-old version of Magnus Carlsen, the current World Champion, on the Play Magnus app, and I’m happy to report that I won hands down . I also beat 8-year-old Beth Harmon a Chess.com avatar of the fictional protagonist of “The Queen’s Gambit”. Naturally, I opened the game with the Queen’s Gambit – one of the oldest opening moves – turned down, for those of you following at home. Strangely enough, it was an opening that Beth’s teacher, the crispy old janitor, Mr. Shaibel, hadn’t prepared her for.

The Bethbot gave me a ‘strained look’ when I captured their queen at the start of the match. “It is not fair!” she said. “How did you beat me?” I restarted a second game, now facing the fictional Beth, 9 years old. She won, with attitude. “You played well, I guess,” she texted me. “You play as well as Mr. Shaibel. “

I am, shall we say, a little picky about the playing conditions. Bobby fischer!) I am obsessed with the background music that best engenders 360 degree chess awareness. I had a solid winning streak with the Brahms piano trios performed by Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax and Leonidas Kavakos, but then remembered the tasteless violin strumming of “Yanni at the Acropolis”. So far it has worked well.

Also, like Nancy Reagan consulting astrologers on her husband’s career, I reserve parts of the day for chess. Mornings = no. Too many hyper-talented Southeast Asian players hang out on the boards, looking for victims like me. At night = yes. The eastern hemisphere has gone down. North Americans often have a drink or two with dinner, which is to my advantage.

Chess addiction is sometimes discussed in Chess.com member forums. “I actually suffer from a severe addiction to chess,” wrote a UK member in a forum post. “It takes my life with my girlfriend, my friends and my family.” Other members offered comfort but never suggested stepping down from the board, prompting one American commentator to make a sardonic observation: “Usually asking other addicts to help you with it. your addiction problem is not the best idea. “

I know: you are wondering about my alleged sportsmanship violations. A Chess.com A support team member named Josh explained, “I have personally verified your account and found that our system is automatically restricting it due to a high logout rate. . . . The reason is that sometimes people intentionally quit a game when they’re on the verge of losing, but I know you don’t.

Perish thought! Pawn on d4. Your move.


Alex Beam’s column appears regularly in the Globe. Follow him on twitter @imalexbeamyrnot.



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