Kruiser's (Almost) Daily Distraction: My Chess Game Really Needs Some Work

Mate In Never

This one is for the chess fans out there.

Or the fans of watching me admit that I’m not very good at something.


I love chess. I’ve loved it for a very long time. The problem is that I have never been very good at it. At my best — which was a long time ago — my chess game was OK. Who wants to merely be OK?

Not this fella.

I learned how to play at a very young age but never had any friends who were into it, so I can’t say that I grew up playing the game. Perhaps I would be more than OK if my young mind could have had more practice wrapping itself around the nuances of the game.

When I first went on the road to do stand-up, I was in my late twenties and I needed some entertainment for the off hours in hotel rooms. I bought a “computerized” electronic chess board from Radio Shack (LOL…just found one on eBay) to amuse myself. I played a lot and lost a lot. It wasn’t much for teaching the game, but it sure was a fun way to kill time.

When I first began hauling a laptop around with me, it was a — I kid you not — floppy-disk-only affair that didn’t have as much power as a flip phone from 2008. I got a chess game for it though.

My skill level remained unchanged.

Around that time, I began hanging out with a bunch of creatives at a coffee house here in Tucson whenever I wasn’t on the road. I had a couple of friends there who liked to play chess and we would often hang out and play until four or five in the morning. It was the first time in my life I’d regularly played against humans. We were fairly evenly matched, which made it more fun. That was probably the best my game has ever been.

While I’ve never stopped playing, I just haven’t played a lot in quite some time. At my old hangout bar in Los Angeles, some of my friends who were regulars there were playing all the time. I wouldn’t join them. Drinking is the only thing I like to concentrate on when I’m drinking.

Anyway, here I am lo these many years later and I’ve decided to give improving my chess game a serious go. I do love to study chess, I’ve just never figured out the best way to do that. Do I memorize opening moves for months on end? Do I study complete grandmaster games? Do I just play against the computer a lot?

Whatever I end up doing, I would like it to be a lot more focused. Any suggestions from those of you who play well would be welcomed. I like to keep learning things as I get older because I don’t want my brain turning into oatmeal.

Thanks for helping me avoid that.


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