A Shaky Start.
Gedy Cate Tuguinay, Grade 9
A draw. He concedes it is an outcome that he can be content with, but after one inaccuracy after another, time had slipped away from his fingers, and with it the prospect of a victory. He was the one to force a trade of their queens, equalising the match, but before that he had overlooked so many probabilities that lead to his opponent holding most of the attack for majority of the match.
And that was game one. His Second immediately rushes towards him; clad in another t-shirt that proudly displays his love for anime, second only to the one game that they both love.
“You did well.” He says, and it melts all his insecurities, if only for a while.
Compared to his opponent, he only has his mother and a Danish grandmaster for his team. Yet even if this arrangement seemed disadvantaged compared to the teams of analysts and supercomputers that his opponent had at his disposal, he liked it.
They talk quietly in the lobby. Small analysis of his recent play; opinions over moves, but never the critical ones. It comes easy for him to whisper, talking slowly as the English language makes his shy nature much more apparent; Lukas, a little less, but they are both soft-spoken individuals, and so they enjoy each other's tolerant company.
He’s eternally grateful that his companion awaits for him outside the playing hall, rather than anywhere else. It cheers him up, if anything, just enough before he can truly reveal his thoughts and feelings away from the cameras.
He thinks he could cry, after the bubbling humiliation makes him red in the face, but Lukas saves him from spilling before they could get in the elevator.
“-look, i’m sorry that my idea didn’t work out.” he says, hesitantly. And it is true, their defences did not work out in their favour. A half-joking suggestion turns into an insistent idea to pull apart and study. And he agreed.
Yet he would not replace any of it; he isn’t rash, like those tales where grandmasters fire their entire team after disastrous preparation. His Second is known for his unusual playing style, pulling out many rare and unseen variations to the most popular plays over the board; the idea to pull the opponent off guard and capitalise. It’s exciting, creative, aggressive, and that is what he needs.
“Do not apologise.” he says, and he tries not to mumble. “I let my time slip.”
“And my overambitious ideas could have caused that.” He stills, clearly it was something that bothered his friend.
-but it is him who sits overseeing the board, calculating his moves deeply. It is he who freezes with five minutes left and thirty seconds to spare; blundering, then daring to play a blitz game against a rapid-fire beast.
It is him who loses a winning game.
And so he withdraws from the conversation, gathering all his nerves in silence until they reach the hotel.