Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It's All Fun & Games -

Checkers: (noun) a game whose object is to annihilate one's opponent using stealth, cunning, manipulation, bullying, and mind games.

synonym: see Open Warfare.

I rarely play games against Malystryx. The few times we've played card games with family and friends, we were a team and we were invincible. We are both incredibly competitive (there is no surrender, no backing off, no mercy), we are both stubborn as mules (of course, in my personality, this comes across as pleasantly determined. In his...well, I won't go there.), and we know the way each other's twisted minds work.

We are an excellent team.

We make fierce opponents.

Tonight, Malystryx challenged me to a game of checkers. Given that the last time he played checkers against me, he ended up throwing all of his pieces to the floor in a fit of pique to rival that of a three-year-old, I was somewhat surprised.

Naturally, I accepted, even though I knew I would lose. Why would I lose?

A) It's been years since I've played any kind of strategic game where long-term planning is key to success. I'm much better at games that require instant reactions and quick, on-the-spot thinking.

B) Malystryx ammended the rules to suit his strengths and exploit my weaknesses. (In other words, no creative interpretation of the rules or moving of the opponent's checkers while they've turned their backs was allowed) I do well by approaching a game with a certain flexibility to the rules. If you are foolish enough to provide an opportunity for me to maximize my chance of success by any means possible, I'll do it. Malystryx takes exception to this - note the checker throwing fit mentioned above.

Why did I accept, though I knew I would lose? Because I don't back away from a challenge. Because Malystryx knows this. Because I knew he would be overconfident of a quick victory.

His victory was anything but quick.

As team members, knowing how the other's mind works is helpful. As opponents, it's invaluable.

To beat Malystryx (as I believe I mentioned in the "how to bring down an evil Malystryx" post), I needed to make him mad, frustrate his sense of order, and defy his bullying of my poor little blonde checkers. Malystryx approaches games like a 5 Star General approaches a world war. He thinks several moves in advance and calculates all potential outcomes.

My job was to throw a monkey wrench into the whole thing.

I just love throwing monkey wrenches.

I began by refusing to give him the upper hand. He told me to start. I declined. He also declined and it was an instant stalemate. I was prepared to sit there and make small talk for an hour just to defy him. I know better than to give in to him right from the start. He knows me well enough to realize I meant what I said. The stalemate lasted less than 3 minutes when he caved and made the first move.

The next part of my strategy was to provoke a frustrated response from him. (again, see above for checker throwing fit) I mirrored his every move. This was a piece of unmitigated brilliance on my part (and cheeky to boot). For one, I know nothing of setting my board up for success in checkers and he does. By copying him, I turned his own strategy against him. Also, he was ticked at me in just five moves.

I think that's a record for throwing him off his game and provoking an outburst.=)

Once he thought I would continue to copy his every move, I changed strategy and began thinking it through on my own.

This was tricky.

I am easily distracted. I don't even need outside distractions for this. A stray thought that sounds interesting can pass through my head and my brain will seize upon it and examine it thoroughly. Several minutes will pass before I remember I'm supposed to be playing checkers.


Still, I played well because if I am going to do something, I'm going to do it with everything I've got, losing battle or not.

Malystryx relaxed. Got cocky. Started with the smack talk. Began pushing me to back into corners.

I don't back into corners.

Also, I know Malystryx enough to know that most of his smack talk and bullying was because he knows me and he realizes that if you push the right buttons in me, I'll do just the opposite of what you've said just to spite you.

Thankfully, I know that about me too and I caught him trying to manipulate me.

I had the upper hand once or twice. Not bad for a girl who likes to think on her feet, improvise, and hasn't played checkers in years (and frankly, was never good at it then, either).

I was like Jamaica trying to stave off the advances of the entire United States Marine Corp. Guerrilla warfare only gets you so far before the Corp blows up all the trees and you are left running from rock to rock, knowing there is no where left to go.

In the end, he backed me up as far as I was willing to go. Refusing to be cornered, I instead used the kamikaze approach and stepped in front of the opponent.

I'm satisfied with the outcome. I played well. I got under his skin. I saw through his mind games. I made him work for his victory.

Now he wants to play me in chess. I will. As long as the rules are a little flexible.


  1. There will be no flexibility in the rules. Thats why rules are there, to be kept, and I am the keeper.

    And I must be tired, because I think i must have over-read the part where you explained why I threw my checkers...

    Good game though. Nice walk-though. Your way with words is still 100 leves above mine. So again, my post is boring, yours is funny and fuitful. Oh well.

  2. First, your post isn't boring. It's an interesting peek into your mind.

    Second, I did explain why you threw your checkers. As I recall, the phrase was "a fit of pique".

    Finally, you are not the keeper of the rules. You merely think you are.

  3. *laughs* You two could probably make money if you took that show on the road.

    *announcers voice* Checkers to the Death!

  4. LOL. I love "Checkers to the Death".

    I believe we're playing Risk this afternoon.

    Should be - interesting.

  5. Risk...Or chess. Either one will lead you to the same fate as last night. And yes KB, there almost was a death when I found out my pieces were moved, but I decided to take it out on the game itself rather than a human being.

  6. Oh please. You didn't actually consider killing me. No one else around you presents half the challenge at games that I do and you know it.

    And I think it's highly likely that I will wipe the board with you in Risk.

    Just think, by playing on the computer, you won't have to obsessively check the positions of your precious soldiers every time you blink for more than two seconds.

    Not that I would move any.

  7. You'd think it would be allowable to move soldiers in Risk.


    It's like having assassins!

  8. Here's the only way to win at Risk...just watch the first minute of this video.

  9. FYI - I caught the "riveting" match of chess between CJ and Malystryx. (Where is ESPN The Ocho when you need them?)

    I must say, CJ held her own. And I'm about 80% sure she didn't cheat.

    Malystryx was a lucky man today.

  10. BTW - Since the match was so close, I think you two should make it more interesting for the rest of us.

    I propose a little wager. If Malystryx wins, CJ has to make a poster proclaiming the greatness that is Malystryx. If CJ wins, Malystryx must wear a Wonder Woman costume.

    I, being the wonderful and thoughtful person I am, will happily sacrifice my time and talents to take pictures and post them online for you.

    You never know Malystryx, you may be the next big viral video on YouTube! :-)

  11. Great idea!! In fact, I should play the match wearing my poster and Malystryx should play wearing his fetching little costume.

    And yes, I nearly beat him in chess (after having not played since about fifth grade). I would have won too if it wasn't for those meddling kids!

  12. And My win would have been even faster If you hadnt made your dog attack my leg while I was trying to concentrate. We each had our mistakes, and the better player w...I mean, great game. Next time maybe you'll come even closer, but still lo...Geez, I just cant say what I mean tonight!

    And Mr. "a-licious" man, I will play another game, with a wager. Please take pictures as to prove my superiority. And if I lose, I will go to party city and buy a costume and wear it around once, thats a deal.

  13. Hmmm, what does my poster have to say?

    Malystryx, the Pantless Wonder, is the King of Checkers to the Death?

  14. I prefer:

    "I lost to someone better than me at chess"

    But I like the pantless wonder.

  15. That's a nice slogan. I, however, only speak the truth so I'm afraid the second phrase in that sentence is rather problematic.

  16. Malystryx, don't worry about buying the costume. I have connections. I can get you a real deal outfit for the day.

  17. I Appreciate it grayback. Just make sure all the parts are included, I cant survive without my whip of TRUTH.

  18. I'm sure you meant "lasso" of truth. Do you regularly use your lasso as a whip?


People who comment are made of awesomesauce with a side of WIN!

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