Games of Aspiration

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The Gamemaster

For a split second after realizing she was not alone, the cat burglar’s mind raced through the gauntlet of errors that had made in what now was clearly foolish haste carried out by her!

Damn my impudence! she thought frozen in position, not daring to turn around.

Scolding herself in a few seconds as she stood there …

“Play the game too Long missy and you become a victim to carelessness and an unwisely curious nature!”

“Of course the servants were not sneaking off without permissions! “

“Of course, the servants had not forgotten to turn on the alarm!”

“And of bloody course, the lights being on in the study, the smell of old cigar, chessboard laid, were not the butler’s indiscretions!”

But the question remained….

“Just who was the man in the room who had spoken?”

She was about to find out!

For a dark form, moving with soft, confident steps, came into view from behind her…


Without looking at his captive, the man walked around her, going up to whites’ side of the chessboard.

Looking down at the board he reached in, grasping the white bishop.

As he lifted the piece, he spoke, his short sentence concise, and to the point, his voice-controlled, obviously holding even his temper!

“Steven, I set a trap!”

He slowly moved his white bishop in position on blacks’ end of the board, effectively making a move that would require the opponent controlling the black pieces, to sacrifice their black queen, taken in the next move by whites’ rook, to keep the black king out of check!

Not able to help, despite the situation she was in, her eyes looked over the board…

There was no castling the black king either, it had indeed been a chess trap!

But was it the trap her captor was talking about, somehow, she very much doubted it!

She stood paralyzed as he finally looked up from the board, his piercing blue eyes curiously traveled from her mask, down to the chest of her tight-fitting black spandex top….a thoughtfulness could be seen in his eyes,

Taking a breath, he commandingly, confidently spoke, questioningly half to himself…

“Your definitely not the Bitch’s bloody prig of a nephew, Steven are ye!? Who sent you lass, Fabian?!”

The cat burglar shakes her head no, slowly not daring to speak, for she did not want to give away anything more than what he had already seen to identify her, in case she found some way to wriggle out of the situation!

Because back at the ball she had wanted to get closer to the couple she had been scouting to overhear their conversation as they stood by the bar. Overhearing enough to eventually plan out this burglary!

But the husband had noticeably been giving her the once over as she had passed close to his cougar wife, pretending to be going to the same bar. She was pretty sure he had overheard her chatting to the bartender.

This could be a problem, for she had been born with a slight lisp that most men found charming, and for many, memorable!

Now it was that very same husband, the master of this house who was now confronting her!

Back at the ballroom, in his tux, he had looked, and appeared in mannerisms to her like Sir Ian McKellen’s ‘Gandalf’, the character he played in the Hobbit Film…

He sighed, pulling out the chair and settling down. Keeping his eyes his captive, He picked up the cigar from the ashtray and relit it. Sending a perfectly forms smoke ring to the ceiling, he took it from his mouth and pointed the cigar accusingly at her, and asked…

“Cat holding your tongue lass !?”

As He spoke, his eyes narrowed sharply! She realized that he no longer looked like Sir Ian McKellen’s ‘Gandalf’, but more of a sterner Sir Patrick Stewart’s Star Trek character Captain Jean luc Picard!

She preferred Gandalf!

She mutely kept her silence…

It was eerily quiet in the room, a mantle clock was ticking off the seconds, a sound she was just now noticing, she looked up, located it, and could see that it was well after 2 am…

She looked back to the table, was staring down at him, curiously feeling quite motionless, like the dark chessman on the marbled board, motionless and unable to take any action on their own!

She knew that she could take him. He did not appear to be armed, and she had the advantages of youth on her side. Unless of course, he was an ex-SAS commando, like her Uncle, then there would undoubtedly be more to him than was meeting her hazel eyes!

But she still had a morality streak inherited from her Minister father! She was the intruder, the one breaking in, and he did not deserve to be hurt by her for that reason!

It was the same cursed morality that plagued her on many of her “outings”!

Forcing her to sometimes act out of character(for a burglar): Like once a few years back, she left one of the expensive necklaces from her haul behind in a flat, upon realizing that it matched the one the victim was wearing in her wedding portrait!

She now looked back up at him, seeing his eyes were on her, obviously pondering over his trapped catch…

He again took the cigar from his mouth and lifting the glass with the hand holding that cigar, took a sip of the amber liquid.

Setting the glass down he dictated…

“Sit down please, I like to talk with eyes level!”

She obediently went over to the chair that was on the black chessmen’s side of the board, pulling it out she carefully sat, her hands starting to pull back the gown she suddenly realized she was not wearing!

Embarrassed she looked up at him, only to see from his smile that her error had been caught!

He spoke again, this time his words were a little more soothing like he knew that his opponent had her fallacies!

“Please Lass, keep your hands on the table where I can see them.”

He took another sip from the glass and set it down.

Seeing his captive following the glass with her eyes, he tapped the cigar against the ashtray, examining it after he did so as he began to speak, pointing to the decanter.

“Courvoisier cognac! I still have several bottles of the 1910 vintage. Fortunately, Steven and Fabian are not interested in stealing rare bottles of my liqueur!”

He put the cigar into the ashtray, grinding it out….

However, if you are to be believed, you may have nothing to do with their business!

If so, lets then, discuss your fate, my mysterious lass!”

He looked over the chessboard…

Then he spoke, like a professor lecturing at university.

“C. H. O’D. Alexander , playing black, found himself facing the same board you see before you… In five moves after losing his queen, he was able to upset his opponent by capturing the white King. It took him over two hours in playtime to accomplish this feat.”

As he spoke, he reached across the board, his hand steady, moved the black queen out and allowed her to capture white’s bishop, putting the black queen in a direct line of acquisition by white’s waiting rook!

Once he had set the white bishop on her side, in with the other captured white chessman, he continued…

“ I would hazard guess you are no grand champion chess player lass, but since you have come here uninvited, but not yet stolen anything, I would reason that it would be more than fair of me to allow you a chance of escaping, by my rules. By my game!”

He motioned over the chessboard and its’ waiting stationary combatants…

“So, I will take the white, you continue to take the black, and I will give you(Looks at his gold timepiece) till say 3:00 to place my white king in Checkmate!”

Without waiting for her reaction, he said…

“My Move!”

Reaching in once again, he moved his white rook from its corner of the board, and captured black’s queen, moving it to black’s collection of captured chessman!

Sitting back, he took a fresh cigar from his pocket, and lighting it, smiled quite wickedly at his captive…

As she looked over the board he added, chuckling…

If you do win lass, I will personally escort you out to the front door, and freedom… However, if you lose, well, I could always use a pawn…!”

Next Up

Chapter 6

Analogy of a Gambit Part 1


Author’s Note:

Conel Hugh O’Donel Alexander CMG CBE (19 April 1909 – 15 February 1974), known as Hugh Alexander and C. H. O’D. Alexander as a pen name, was an Irish-born British cryptanalyst, chess player, and chess writer. He worked on the German Enigma machine at Bletchley Park during the Second World War, and was later the head of the cryptanalysis division at GCHQ for 25 years. In chess, he was twice British chess champion and earned the title of International Master.

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