Living the Dream

Living the Dream
Opening Moves

Alex Hardie | 2 Oct 2007 14:05
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I saw a woman - presumably his assistant - weaving through the crowd toward us. I expected her arrival would signal the end of our conversation. Then I noticed something: His tiepin was a very elegant but understated gold king, the kind of king you'd find on a chessboard. I still don't know why I said it - and in retrospect it sounds like a gay pickup line from the '20s - but I opened my mouth and asked, "Would you fancy a game of chess sometime?"

He gave me a dubious look for a second, then reached into his jacket pocket and handed me a business card.

"Meet me at my club next Tuesday at three," he said, just before being promptly whisked off to talk to more important people.

The Game
After the initial exchange, Mr. K and I played in silence for just over an hour, until he finally checkmated me. I'd decimated the better part of his army and lost a great deal of my own in the process. Mr. K looked up at me and smiled.

"You put up an excellent fight," he said. "I haven't seen anyone play like you do for years."
"How do you mean?"
"You're hard to nail down. You jumped from a passive attack to an aggressive defense when you didn't need to. Smart thing to do, as it turned out. You know where you went wrong though?"
"Yes."
He chuckled to himself.
"So tell me, how long have you been with your employer?" he asked.
"About five years."
"And how long do you think you'll stay with them?"
"I don't know. Until this new project is set up, at least."
"Will you be taking a big role in the project?"
"Yes, but I'll be doing the behind-the-scenes work. Other people will be on the spot for all the main things."
"I see. I think I'll be calling your boss about it tomorrow, but if you'll now excuse me, I have some other things I need to get on with," he said, as he rose to shake my hand.
"Thank you for the game," I said, "And please do call us."

I walked to the door and was half way through it when I remembered something and turned back around.

"Who did I remind you of?" I asked Mr. K, who was now taking some files from his briefcase.
"I'm sorry?"
"You said you hadn't seen someone play like I did for years."
"You play like my grandfather did," he said.

I smiled and left the old gamer to his papers.

The next afternoon, my boss called me into his office. He told me the company had secured the investment capital it needed to fund its latest initiative, and I was going to be the project manager.

Alex Hardie lives in Sydney with a girl and a cat. He will happily accept offers of venture capital funding and C|-|3aP \./14Gra at alexh.hasmail@gmail.com.

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