My life motto is and always has been: Live and let live. According to that, I think I am a pretty tolerant and understanding person. But there are moments when I feel some satisfaction when arrogant people get a lesson.
I was on vacation with a group of friends and since the weather did not cooperate, the entertainers organized a chess tournament. I'm not a great player but some people are worse than me and apparently those had entered the competition. It happened in two different places: at the Greenbrier and on a ship. Since I don't remember what was where and it doesn't matter, I will combine those two events to one story.
I had learned to play chess as a child and always had to beg my older brothers to play with me. When I was lucky they agreed but mercilessly, only under the condition that I would choose the black pieces, which puts me at a disadvantage because the white ones open the game. Therefore, throughout my childhood, I developed decent skills - not so much how to attack but how to dodge the bullet. I could see through my opponent's strategy and successfully keep myself out of trouble.
Writing that, I just realized that this behavior took over my entire personality. I never bother people but I react if provoked. And even then, I first withdraw myself in order to give them a chance to stop. It reminds me of one taekwondo tournament in Vienna, Austria. The main Korean Master, Son Young-Ho of the European Taekwondo Federation, came to watch us Vienna fighters in action. As he stood with our Vienna master and commented, my daughter who was recording the fight caught their conversation on tape. When Mr. Son Young-Ho said: "She is good in dodging but that's all she does," the Vienna couch answered: "Sir, give her some time, she waits for the real attack." Later on, I was surprised that the pattern of my acting was so obvious.
Playing chess, I find fun derived from mastering difficult situation. The victory is not my real goal. Sometimes when I see an obvious mistake of my opponent, I give him one chance to take back his move and to rethink it, even if it might cause me to lose. During that tournament I played 10 games, and...well, every dog has its day...I won them all. Among the matches was the classical 4 Moves Checkmate. I really made it and got a thunderous applause. The photographer couldn't resist.
But the real funny moment was when one of the players said to his wife: "How much time do you give me to be finished with this nice lady?" (That nice lady supposed to be me!) His wife answered "One hour?" He laughed loud out. "How about twelve minutes? Or perhaps fifteen since the nice lady looks intelligent." He was older than me and so was his wife, and I found it touching that he still tried to impress her. I saw one of my friends face and recognized that his thoughts were a little bit different because he was smiling with closed lips and by raising one side of his mouth. When we sat down to the chess board and shook hands, my opponent reached to my face and petted my cheek. My other friend closed her eyes and I thought for a moment she would fall off her chair. After a while we came to a moment that my opponent was about to lose his queen. I asked the man if he would like to rethink the fatal move but he only stated: "I don't need your generosity, pretty cupcake," and looked to his wife to exchange smiles. "Are you sure?" asked one of my friends and the other one added: "She is a killer." Which I wasn't! I was just lucky that the people participating in that tournament were out of practice. But I understood why they had said that. My friends must have begun to dislike that arrogant man. My opponent answered with a laugh: "Yeah, yeah!" My friend applied again his typical one-sided-smile and mumbled: "Suit yourself." After a few more minutes, my opponent threw the game. Since it was my last match we went outside, and when no one was around, we burst out laughing. I felt so mean but I couldn't help but laugh and laugh.