It’s been another busy week for me, but last week I intimated that I might tell you what happened in the boozy chess I’d had planned. Well, the least I could do is try to fulfil that… intimation.
I’d been needing to restock my booze collection for a while so, though times are hard, I budgeted to buy bottles of gin and dark rum for the chess match. The only dark rum on offer at Asda was Captain Morgan, so I was happy enough to go for that, since I need it for mixing (and necking) more than anything else. As for gin, I’ve perused the selections at a few supermarkets over the last few weeks, and gin is just something I can’t get excited about. Not even wanting to spend £12 on a bottle of Gordon’s, I decided to try some really cheap stuff – Richmond Gin. Less than £10. We’ll see how that works out. Again, it is primarily for mixing, so it can’t go too wrong.
I had also decided the chess might be a good chance to rid myself of some of the things I’d been in possession of for far too long so, along with the obligatory bottle of vodka (Red Square), I also took my Tesco Value Brandy and my crap bottle of scotch (Glen Moray). It would have been nice to take something of quality for people to try, but in boozy chess it’s all about necking shots, so you don’t want to drink anything you could actually enjoy; that would be a waste – and potentially an incentive to lose pieces.
The chess passed off fairly successfully, though it was interrupted at one point by a dog fight – in the same room that the chess was taking place in. I’m not getting into all that. Despite the fight’s proximity to our chess game, none of the pieces were disturbed. Gav and I were just discussing what a relief that was when the wagging tail of the victorious dog pugilist knocked four of our pieces off the board. Between us, I think Phil and I managed to put them all back in the same place, but that was a definite, slow motion “No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!” moment.
To be fair, even accounting for those things, conditions weren’t ideal. While Phil and I duelled mentally, Gav was noisily playing on the Xbox and Phil wasn’t paying any attention to the chess etiquette that says players shouldn’t talk to each other once the game has started – and they especially shouldn’t say things like, “you can win this in two moves” – whether you can or not – which, for the record, I couldn’t.
So, I know what you’re wondering; how much did the alcohol affect the game? Well, I must say it affected the concentration a little, but it’s hard to say, what with all the other distractions and the fact that we didn’t start with a level playing field. My plan had been for both players to start from a base of complete sobriety, but by the time we got back to Phil’s I was thirsty and itching for a beer, and Phil was desperate for me to try the 10 Canes rum that he’d been saving a couple of shots of. So it was more of a rolling start, really.
I’d certainly be up for playing again – with or without the lubrication. It was a pretty fascinating game- I lost (drinking 11 shots in the process) due to failing to protect my left flank and trying to bolster an attack when putting my opponent’s king in check might have been more beneficial in the long run. I guess I won’t know that for sure. Needless to say, we both made mistakes, and there were points where it could have gone either way.
At five o clock, we were done. I immediately drank about 3 pints of water, knowing that a little stamina would be required for the remainder of the evening. We headed into town (Sheffield), and continued with the drinking.
If you are thinking of trying boozy chess, allow me to make just a couple of recommendations. First, do try to start with a level playing field, and second, have something to do afterwards – if you’ve loaded up on alcohol, it’s good to be able to head out with your booze buzz already active. You don’t get to town still needing to get up to speed because you’re already wa-a-a-ay ahead, and ready to lead the conga line all the way down West Street.
That’s it for this week. Apologies for the lack of booze porn. I didn’t feel inspired to take any photos during the chess, and I haven’t even got a picture of the Richmond Gin or Captain Morgan rum for you yet. I’ll try and do better next week, when I think I’ll be discussing the phenomenon of ‘real’ cider in lieu of the upcoming Greater Manchester Cider Festival. See you then.