Does your candidate play chess?

Posted by Lisa Suhay

Sure there are all sorts of questions we should be asking our candidates before and after we vote. Today I decided “Do you play chess?” ought to be one of them.

It was a spur of the moment decision, as I walked up to our local polling place at Larchmont Elementary School here in Norfolk, Virginia, this morning. I was there to vote for Democratic candidate Ralph Northam. I don’t know if Northam plays chess, nobody on his staff could riddle me that one.

However, there, blocking my path to the polls was “the other guy,” Republican candidate Ben Loyola, hand outstretched, suit and tie crisp and a smile that looked fiberglasssed on. The man looked stressed. I would too if I was a red shirt that deep in Obamariffic Democrat turf.

My first instinct was to blow past, but my acquired Southern manners got the better of me and I stopped to shake his hand. He launched into his spiel like a man striking out for a life raft in a sea of sharks and I stopped him cold. Gripping his hand, I looked him dead in the eye and said, “There’s only one thing I look for in a candidate. Do you play chess?”

I did not get what I was expecting. Instead of the humanuh humanuh, his face completely cleared, the fixed fake candidate look shattered into a relieved smile and he positively beamed at me, “Chess? Chess! I love chess. I was the captain of my high school chess team! Chess was my entire life for ..well..years.”

He looked like a happy kid. He absolutely burbled about the game. I swear he transformed on the spot right into a man I would vote for.

So in I went and voted (not saying who got the vote because this is America and we like to keep you guessing here). Also, if Northam wins I don’t want to tick him off. I am still hoping he plays chess.

On the way out I stopped and handed Loyola my card and told him about the Virginia Queens Championship March 3rd at Norfolk State University. I exacted a genuine, bonafide, live-action, campaign promise right on outta the man. He PROMISED that if elected he would come to the championship and play Susan Polgar in the exhibition match.

You read it here first.

Did I mention that he would be playing her while she is blindfolded? Possibly I overlooked that fact in the heat of the moment, but I’m sure a former chess club president would relish the experience of being beaten by a woman who is playing blindfolded as the opener to Women’s History Month. I have great faith in my newfound political friend.

You will read it all here again on the Naughty List if he gets in and welches on the deal. However, for tonight, Loyola’s on the NICE list. Let you know when the polls close if we finally have our match-up for Susan or if I have to track down Northam and get a definitive answer on his chess track record.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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