Checkmate by Chris Clarke

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SUMMARY: August 2008 Flash Fiction Contest Theme: Unintended consequences

By: Chris Clarke

For August 2008 Flash Fiction Contest

Theme: Unintended Consequences

Criticism's are always welcome.

"Checkmate." The words came as a shock to Tim as he looked at the board desperately thinking that there must have been some sort of mistake. The kid across from him did not lie though, Tim had been checkmated. Tim had not lost in the last two years playing chess in this club; he thought he was the best. Now some kid that waltzed into the club had destroyed that thought. The checkmate was not one in a close match that he could have accepted, no this person had brutally murdered almost every piece but the king. The kid had numerous times to checkmate him before but he continued the onslaught enjoying the deepening depressed look of horror on Tim's face. As depressed as Tim was he stood up and shook hands with his opponent.

"That was too easy! You should give up on chess." The other boy said as he let go of Tim's hand. Tim could tell by the look on the boy's face that this kid was serious.

Leaving the room Tim tried to stop the words checkmate from ringing in his mind over and over again. Tim knew that Chess was the only thing he was good at, if he lost so easily then what hope was there for him.

Heading home depressed and lonely he walked up the stone walk to his front door. Rain was beginning to fall but he didn't care, his grandfather opened the door and ushered him in out of the rain. How could Tim even face his grandfather after a loss like that? His grandfather had taught him to play chess in the first place. Tim's grandfather saw the look that Tim had at once and brought him into the kitchen. Rummaging through a few cabinets he came out with a board game. Tim really wasn't in the mood to play but his grandfather set up the board.

This game Tim had never seen before and listened as his grandfather explained the rules. The game was played like chess, the pieces however were flat with a rounded edge on one side. There were symbols on the pieces that had been marked by his grandfather to signal what the piece was. Tim began to play like he would any chess game and he got pointers from his grandfather on the movement of some of the pieces and how best to use a captured piece. After the first game Tim wanted to play again, he had lost but he was enjoying the game. The strategy was similar to chess but different and he slipped into the strategy of moving the pieces easily. It almost seemed like his mind had longed to play this game and now that it got the chance it wasn't going to let go. After seven games Tim finally defeated his grandfather and headed upstairs to try and get some sleep. Tim's mind was made up about what he needed to do tomorrow.

Waking up Tim smiled, today was going to be much better. Going through his morning routine Tim finally made his way to school but instead of stopping by the chess club first to see everyone before school began he looked over at the list of clubs that were posted on the bulletin board in the hall. Chess club was there among many others but the one he truly wanted to join was there.

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