In Playa El Cuco, Antonio asked me if I wanted to play chess, a big smile on his face. He likes it so much that he carries around a small, magnetic board.
He beat the shit out of me twice. Antonio is really good. A sneaky player, it seemed he had moves planned out well in advance. Towards the end of the second game, he got pretty cocky. As I moved a piece, he said, “Really? It is not a good move.” I took it back and thought about it. I made a different move. “Better.” It seemed he wanted the role of chess sensai.
In Corinto, Nicaragua, Antonio asked, “You want another chess lesson?” Cocky from the start. We played and after I made a few good moves, including taking his queen, there was silence. And when I got his king cornered, he tipped it over, surrendering, “You win.” He surrendered before I got to beat him. I told him he should keep playing. The next move, I put him in check-mate.
Antonio and I played chess a few more times, with him winning more often. There was a frustrating stalemate when I messed up after getting him down to just his king — he really enjoyed that one. But on the final night of traveling together, we played twice, both times I won.