Had a very close game of chess with Lezlie last night. Lezlie's an excellent player, and I don't generally win, but last night I just barely managed. The end was my King and a recently crowned Queen against her King. Luck was definitely on my side--several rather sly moves just seemed to fall into place, including the most decisive one, when blocking a check posed by Lezlie's Queen with my original Queen, I simultaneously put Lezlie's King in check. This forced Lezlie to sacrifice her Queen to take mine, and since I had a pawn just three squares away from the other side, I quickly had another Queen while Lezlie was left with a King and three pawns still at their starting positions. Lezlie didn't resign, probably because she knew a King and three pawns can actually be a force to be reckoned with. It takes some careful manoeuvring, but I've seen games where someone thought everything was in the bag only to lose to a King accompanied by a pawn or two.
I think a lot of people underestimate the vital role luck plays in chess. You need to be aware of all the paths of attack the other pieces have available to them and you have to construct defences to those attacks, but there're actually so many possibilities, you can't plan for everything. Seeing the opportunities when they present themselves is incredibly important, and more than once I've completely missed them. Maybe it helped, too, that when playing Lezlie I switched from brandy to green tea--Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearl from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf--a gunpowder tea, meaning its leaves are hand rolled into little balls that unfurl in the water as the tea steeps. I bought it when I stopped in at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on the way back from Comic-Con one day, and didn't realise until I'd brought it to the register that it cost twenty dollars. But I had a Vincent Vega moment--I had to know what a twenty dollar tea tasted like. The answer; damned good. Though not as caffeinated as I'd like.
I still have a lot of work to catch up on so I'd better get to it . . .