Ret came in to open the bar, and found me and Boss both staring at a chess board, mid-game. She didn’t say anything, but stood and stared at us.
The silence grew thick.
I finally muttered, “What’s up?” without looking up.
“Nothing.” She kept watching us.
After several beats: “I’m playing someone online, and we can see the board better if I set it up on the bar. Boss is helping me.”
“. . . helping?”
“Yeah. She has a master’s rating, and I am playing someone above my paygrade with this one.”
Pregnant pause this time.
“. . . master’s rating?”
“Oh, yeah. Chess is not really my go-to game, so I can use all the help I can get.”
Boss mrrphed and gingerly touched my king’s bishop.
“You think so?”
Boss just stared at me.
“That’ll weaken my King’s side.”
Boss continued to glare at me.
“Okay, okay.” I retreated the bishop two squares. Boss stared at the board for a moment, and then promenaded to the nearest cushion square for a quick bath.
There was a moment of silence. Ret considered several questions, went with “What is your go-to game?”
“You know, the game with the little round stones on a grid.”
“You mean Pente?”
“Pente is go’s red-haired step-child. Go is the game of kings.”
Boss paused mid-lick to glare at me again. Without turning, I said over my shoulder, “It’s the only game humans . . . er, carbon-based forms of life can still beat a computer at.” To Ret: “Aren’t you supposed to be opening?”
Ret got busy, said nothing.