Twas the Night Before Christmas . . .by Christopher Willard

'Twas the night before Christmas, my friends had all gone

Not a chess piece was stirring, I stifled a yawn.

I looked at the pieces, I tried and I planned

The problem still stumped me, no end was at hand.

Most patzers were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of brilliancies danced in their heads;

I sat back in my chair and I sipped on my drink

And just settled in for a heck of a think.

When out on the lawn there arose such a fight

I sprang from the board, I threw on the light.

I ran out the door and heard Russian and Dutch

And cussing and swearing, I can’t repeat much.

The white light and shadows were squares on the snow.

The shrubs stood like pieces within the moons glow.

I took off my glasses and wiped at my lens,

A masterful board, and eight ghostly GM’s.

As dry scoresheets all crumpled and marked with a loss

Are carried in pockets and finally tossed

The pieces were tumbling as if moved by Fates

I think he could visualize mind bending mates.

In an instant were shoutings and comments quite snide

And objections of GM’s who stood on the side.

Capablanca and Lakser, Alekhine, Tal

New Attacks and defenses, they suggested them all.

“The unsound combination, no matter how showy

it fills me with horror,” he said somewhat snowy.

He brushed off the flakes from his thick overcoat

And proceeded to show how the pawn would promote.

Now the board it rose up and it flew out of sight

And the spectral GM’s followed into the night.

I crawled back to my board, the position remained

The solution no clearer, my thinking still strained.

Then my five year old son, woken up by the row

walked into the den with his stuffed bear in tow.

He glanced at the board and said Queen sac right there

I’d missed the most simple, a win fair and square

I shook my head sadly, peered under the tree,

I hoped that a chess book was wrapped there for me.

And out in the sky a voice called through the gloom

Happy Christmas, keep studying, you might improve soon.


The Idaho Chess Association wishes you a safe and happy holiday season!


We look forward to seeing you again at tournaments and events we are planning for the new year!



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