Check, Mate

Story Sent in by Terrie:

Todd and I both played chess, and so he asked me out to a place that had dinner, wine, and board games. We sat down to dinner and talked over chess. It was actually pretty fun.

Until Todd cheated. It began slowly. I noted that one of his pawns seemed to have moved up a space without me remembering it ever doing so during one of his turns. Suspicion isn't evidence, though, so I stayed quiet. He might've had opportunities to move his pieces when the waitress came by to refill our waters or check on us or any number of times. I didn't think that I had to keep my eyes on him constantly, but after a couple more phantom chess moves, I made it a point to watch him like a hawk.

Inkling became suspicion when at one point, he pointed over my shoulder and said, "Check that guy out."

I looked at where Todd was pointing, saw no one, and turned back around to find him engrossed in the board. "What guy?" I asked, "Where?"

Todd brushed me off. "Oh, some guy was just walking funny to the bathroom. Guess he was too quick."

Speaking of the bathroom, I had to use it. But since I was pretty sure that Todd was cheating, I took out my phone and snapped a photo of the board right before going.

"What was that for?" Todd asked, "Don't you trust me?"

I replied, "I do, but just in case there's an earthquake or something." With that, I made for the restroom.

When I returned, Todd said, "You don't have to check your phone. I didn't touch anything."

I checked my phone. At least a half dozen pieces had been moved, and I pointed it out to him, on my phone. He squinted at the photo, held it at arm's length, turned it upside-down, and such, but nothing really changed the fact that he had moved the pieces around in my absence.

I said, "So the game is forfeit to me," but Todd wasn't having that.

He said, "That photo could be from any chess game. I don't buy it."

I said, "But the table in the photo is clearly this table, and I can see your hands folded in your lap in the background."

"Those could be anyone's hands," he said, "The lighting's bad in here. I reject your forfeit."

I said, "No, you're the one who forfeited. By cheating. Todd, quit playing around. We both know you've been moving pieces around."

"Liar!" he spat, then pointed to the board and said, "Go ahead. Take a free turn. I can still beat you. Take two free turns! Five! Ten!"

"I'm done playing, Todd. I win by forfeit."

"No one wins!" he said, then scooped up all the pieces and tossed them into the nearby box.

"Actually, I won," I said, "If you cheat, the game is automatically forfeited to me."

"No one forfeits, no one wins," he said, "Game over."

"Actually, I won," I said again.

"No one wins. Let's get you another drink."

"I'm all set."

"No one wins."

"I won."

Todd said, "No one wins. It's a draw. Good game," and he extended his hand to me.

I didn't shake it, but I did say, "Ready for the check?"

"Not until we shake on it."

"I'm not shaking on it being a draw, Todd. I won. You lost."

He shoved his hand closer to me, as if I didn't see it. He shook it up and down. "It's a draw, let's shake," he said again.

I didn't want to be there anymore, so I said, "Take your hand back or I'm leaving right now."

He took his hand back but said, "At least agree that it's a draw, then."

"No. I won."

"No one wins. Agree it's a draw."

I could've maybe easily prevented things from escalating, but my father taught me not to back down when you know you're right, and although this was a stupid thing to not back down about, I really wanted to stick to my guns.

"No, Todd. It's not a draw. You cheated. I win."

"No one wins. There was no checkmate."

"Doesn't matter. There was cheating. The game is forfeited to me."

"Chess sucks. And you suck, too. Why do you have to suck the pleasure out of this evening with your lies?"

That did it. I stood up, said, "I don't have pleasurable evenings with cheaters," and left him with the tab. You can moan and groan all you want about the game and how I caught you in the act, but if you insult me, then you get what's coming to you. I left that place and never looked back.


  1. Oh my goodness you are both so annoying. I wanted to slap both of you before the story was even over!

    There were no winners on your sh!tty date.

    1. Gotta agree. I can usually find someone in the story to sorta agree or at least empathize with but both people were super annoying.

    2. Ha! Hilarious smallcitygirl

  2. Cheaters are horrible, but so are stubborn jackasses who push a point when it's unnecessary. You could have just dropped it and never seen him again. He knew he was caught and you called him out. That should have been the end of it.

  3. This sounded like a Junior High date, until I reread and saw that they consumed wine. Both of you sound idiotic and immature. I kept reading in the hopes that Chunky Horse would smash through the wall and mule-kick both of you in your respective heads.

    And OP, either your father is wrong, or you are misinterpreting his advice. While *sometimes* it is noble to dig in your heels and fight for what is right, that is not something you should do for EVERY petty infraction. Sometimes you just need to cut your losses and move on. People who are "right-fighters" typically tend to alienate those around them.

    1. I like how you reread it in the hopes that you missed a Chunky Horse reference the first time around.

    2. Chunky Horse is always the subtext behind the pretext.

    3. Todd and I both played chess, and so he asked me out to a place that had dinner, wine, and board games. We sat down to dinner and talked over chess. It was actually pretty fun.

      Until Todd cheated. Then Chunky Horse crashed through the wall and mule-kicked both of us. The whole restaurant erupted in applause.

      There, Steve. Fixed. Quit slacking off on your editing duties, JMG.

  4. They both sound like douchebags, but I wish I had a place like that around here.

  5. Why argue with him after it became apparent he cheated? Call it a night and move on. No point in getting into a verbal disagreement with someone who is obviously not adult enough not to cheat. The OP had an easy way out after coming back from the bathroom-just tell him you don't feel well or that you got an urgent call to leave.

  6. Yeah OP was a little of a douchette as well as her date. Additionally, she stuck him with the bill after arguing with him for no good reason. I don't think I would like either of their company.

  7. I know it probably wasn't the "right" or "adult" thing for her to do, but darn it, I understand why she did it.

  8. Ignoring the tirade at the end, the most annoying part to me was that he was so desperate to cheat he did so knowing that she had photographic evidence.

    I also don't know what would force him to try so hard to win. I think a woman appreciates a graceful loser more than a winner in any state.

  9. Really late to the party, but still...
    I usually agree with most of the comments, but I think you guys are WAY off on this one. I actually applaud the OP and don't think she was annoying at all. HE was annoying.

    He was cheating -- even in spite of the fact that she took a picture of the game board before leaving. What an insult to her intelligence. To add salt to the wound, he kept arguing that he hadn't cheated and even accused her of somehow faking the picture!

    Winning is clearly way too important to this guy. To the point where he is actually willing to screw up a first date to win. And let's be real: a lot of it is ego. Part of him (I have a hunch) couldn't stand the thought of losing to a woman. And so I think it's awesome that she stuck to her guns and reiterated over and over again that he LOST.


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