Those of you who have been to my website perhaps wonder why I have chessmen on the home page. This is because I love chess, and interpretation of texts is like chess. I believe that proper approach to anything you do is a must. So I tell you that I’ll teach you the right approach to dead languages. There is only one little problem with this, as you will learn after the jump.
I can’t play chess properly. My mother is to blame – she taught me how to move the chessmen but never told me about en passant or how to plan my moves. If she did, I don’t remember it. Plus, she stopped playing with me when I started beating her.
My chess style is radically different from the way I approach languages and other pastimes – it is slapdash and reactionary. I play like a maniac and lose my men left and right. My knights and bishops often go on kamikaze missions, while the rooks stay locked. My queen is a Lara Croft wannabe. The king has gone on many solo crusades as well.
OK, I am exaggerating a little. I love playing chess and don’t mind losing as long as I play well. I have even won a few games against Jude, whose chess is really good. (This has happened only in 13 out of our 597 games to date.)
Let me tell you what goes through my mind when Jude kindly and graciously plays chess with me as a teacher. It is embarrassing but I’ll say it, because it happened today as well. It’s not that I tune out as he tells me how to think ahead and plan my moves more carefully. But I kind of tune out nevertheless and start planning and plotting the next lethal mission, and rush ahead, and…get checkmated. What kind of hypocrite am I?!
So today I make a public pledge – I will learn how to play chess properly. I will carefully dislodge my old chess habits and discard them bit by bit. Stay tuned – I’ll master this King’s Opening!