Fool’s Mate

The first time at my friend’s house

I’ve played chess since I was a little boy, but I almost always lose. I understand the game’s rules but I’ve never been able to think far enough ahead to mount any sort of real strategy. But I do know one little trick called “Fool’s Mate.” It lets you win in two moves. No one falls for it.

One day I went to a new friend’s house. He was showing off, the way kids do. He showed me his Garbage Pail Kids collection, and made sure I knew how rare it was. He showed me his house and pointed out how great it was. Then he started talking about how great he was at chess. So we played a game, and I decided to try Fool’s Mate on him. It worked.

His Garbage Pail collection actually was pretty impressive. And I always did love his house, and the big forest it looked out over. And I bet he would have beat me at chess about 90% of the time if we had played some real games. But over the course of a long friendship, we never played chess again. I accidentally called his bluff and I think our relationship benefited from it.