Strategies for beating the super smart but only in super boring ways

This is the story of my son-in-law. We all had someone like him in class. Knew he knew more than the others. Always did these riddles with “find the room with dots or triangles that goes in the next space” and showed his high IQ and applied to Mensa and was a superior snob. The thing is, he was smart but like chalk on a blackboard, he lifted the hairs. One day he heard some of us talking about chess and he said oh, great let’s play, and he turned to me and said, we can do five moves a day every day on the screen . So, I said okay and I lost three games very easily. This made him even more unbearable and he started advising me where my movements were going wrong.

Finally, cheesed off I decided to get revenge. I connected my computer to a chess site and let the computer play it. At first I kept him on “easy” and he won a few matches but with a little more difficulty. Then I upped the ante, spoiling his mood when I won my first game (the computer did it anyway.) After a while he had lost ten games in a row and when I said it was because he gave me such great advice on how to improve my game, he said okay, let’s play a game a day. So we did and a week later I put him down in eight moves and he was so mad at himself I almost felt sorry but I was having so much fun and sometimes I suggested where he made the wrong move as you should. You didn’t move your bishop or leave the rook exposed.

A few days later, after losing all the matches, he stopped playing. Twenty years have passed and recently, at a wedding, we saw each other again. Obviously he had done well and since we kind of made up for the years he said, the only thing I could ever come to terms with is being beaten by you at chess, it still hurts, how did you improve so fast, even today I lay awake thinking about it.

I shrugged and said, pure application, keep focusing and looking for your weaknesses, but nevermind, it’s been years.

I can’t, he said, it’s still driving me crazy. A few hours later as he was leaving I said, oh don’t feel too bad, you weren’t playing me, you were playing against my computer against Boris Spassky. His expression was a reward for all those triangles he had correctly placed in the next space.



The opinions expressed above are those of the author.


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