City’s Chess Champion (Part Ten)

The audience began to get restless. They know my reputation and the reputation of Mas Pulung. They want a more exciting spectacle. Mas Pulung threatens my Knight at the forefront of the battle using his Bishop. The Knight was indeed not guarded. But it was too late.

I let my Knight be threatened and moved my Queen into a long diagonal step from the back line. This time Mas Pulung really couldn’t not move anymore.

“Check, Mas,” I said to him.

Mas Pulung moved his King to escape. He took a diagonal step for his King. I touched my horse threatened by the Mas Pulung’s Bishop. The Knight threatened Mas Pulung’s King with his current position,

“Oh yeah.”

“Sorry,” he exclaimed. I only smiled.

“For goodness sakes, my King is dying,” Mas Pulung exclaimed pitifully.

The audience moved closer to our table. My Islamic Religion teacher who became the referee and noticed our appearance from the beginning chuckled in awe. What a dramatic game and a drain on the audience’s emotions. It’s drained my emotions too.

“Why, that’s how the story?,” protested some spectators. They wanted to know how the origin until finally Mas Pulung lost so quickly. Less than twenty steps.

Mas Pulung was very embarrassed. He churned the chess pieces of the game table with both of his hands. At that time I tried to explain to the audience who wanted to know, how the origin until Mas Pulung’s King could be deceived and got lost.

Finally, the Mas Pulung class team won the chess race. Our class was lost by a score of 2-1. One point I donated for my class by beating Mas Pulung in a unique and drama-filled match. Teenage chess champion on the municipal level of my town. The city of Malang, East Java.

City’s Chess Champion (Part Nine)

It seemed not. This time the opponent’s King would not likely to have broken away. But to implement it, my Queen should be prepared first on the right place as well. I took the insertion step. As there was no meaning, but that step would appear to be beneficial on steps forward after mine Knight sacrificing.

It was happening that Mas Pulung might not read my step. It seems that he enjoys the his own pieces superiority. Then Mas Pulung classmate came across our desk.

“How is it going, Lung?,” he greeted to his classmate on the match.

“Yet nothing has already won a pawn,” replied Mas Pulung while showing the piece taken from our chess board.

It seems that Mas Pulung underestimated me. Soon you will excel even one officer Mas Pulung, I whispered far from my heart. I sacrifice my horse as it has been planned before. My horse did check to the Mas Pulung King. Had he just moved his King and not take it using a pawn, then his King can still be saved, though his position was extremely destroyed.

Mas Pulung appeared surprised by my step to sacrifice my Knight. He already knows that I was not a stupid player. He paid attention to all over the battlefield, his eyes appeared to be wavering. With hesitation, he took my Knight. A pawn that killing the Knight was leaving his position and pave the way for my Queen from the rear for forward diagonally did checkmate. In that way the Queen should be guarded by another horse that already left.

I move my another Knight left to kill a pawn who slaughtered my horse. Mas Pulung raised my horse who managed to slaughter and shown it with friend who greeted him.

“Now we have the Knight instead.”

They laughed out loud together.

City’s Chess Champion (Part Eight)

The referee signaled to start the match. Mas Pulung moved his King pawn. I responded with similar step. Then, Mas Pulung moved his King Knight. Now it’s depended on me how the game would ongoing. Whether I answer with my King Knight, then the game would use the Russian Opening, whereas when I answer with my Queen Knight, Kb8-c6, then the game would use the format of Espanol or Spain Opening, which also known as the Ruy-Lopez Defense.

The Spain Opening was more profitable the white players. But I was indeed used to doing the game with this Ruy-Lopez Opening, and already memorized with its gimmick. With this opening, my mad ideas often appeared and made the opponent’s game collapsed. But this time my opponent was Mas Pulung, and I hold the black pieces.

I weigh up with doubt. But soon I took decisions. I took the risk and responded with a ledge Kb8-c6. The opening of Ruy-Lopez, meaning that I let Mas Pulung took over the game initiative. Mas Pulung drew breath and carry on playing.

In the middle of the game I try to make a gambling. I would sacrifice my pawn to take over the game’s initiative. But I know, my opponent this time was Mas Pulung, the champion juvenile of the municipal level of the Malang City. Perhaps he already knew this gimmick. I moved my pawn and shrugged. I only tried having an effort.

Mas Pulung took my pawn and we exchange pawns. My two pawns were only rewarded with a pawn. I was now taking over the game initiative. My position was now much better as well. After a few steps, I suddenly saw a hole in the Mas Pulung’s defense.

I would be offering a Knight to Mas Pulung. Obviously it was a poisonous Knight. If Mas Pulung accepted it, then in three steps, then I would be able to make a decisive checkmate as well. Once the check and Mas Pulung jump to the mat. But I should be counting closely. Lest anyone escape from my attention and it turned out that Mas Pulung’s King could still break away.

City’s Chess Champion (Part Seven)

Teachers and friends crowded in a room watching the match. They wanted to see how the course of match between me with Mas Pulung.

Chairman of our chess class group was me, I conferred with the Chairman of the squad of 7B class. There was Mas Pulung who held the post of the Chairman of our opponent group. Mas Pulung invited me to select the pieces would be matched whether the first player played white or black pieces. Mas Pulung was very confident. He is very confident of being able to beat me even though he held the black pieces.

The second player in my squad wanted to hold of white pieces. He insisted to hold that pieces because that’s his chance of winning the match. Obviously our class will lose out, as there would be two players who play with black pieces on our squad. Me and the third player. The third player on my chess class group was very annoyed because it’s remarkable that he would hold of the black pieces. But he couldn’t do anything because his playing quality was indeed under our second player.

I succumbed. Me as the first player having held the black pieces. Mas Pulung somewhat surprised by my decision. But then he shrugged and began putting his chess pieces on the game table.

Mas Pulung composing his chess pieces very quickly. I frankly was rather nervous indeed. Inside I blasphemed decision of my second cast, my who insisted on holding the white pieces. Whereas, the Mas Pulung class had already succumbed to let us take the decision.

Mas Pulung helped me to compile my chess pieces on the game table. The atmosphere became tense and fuss. The referee asked the audience to calm down. The eighth grade class who has been defeated by Mas Pulung and his friends also seem to watch. They’re still curious about Mas Pulung with his friends games in their group.

City’s Chess Champion (Part Six)

Those days of our school were having sports and arts match between classes. Of course I was installed as the first player in a chess match by my friends. I represent the class 6A. Each squad containing three players. Champion candidate was the our older students on 7B class. They have great players indeed.

One of the players who represented 7B class was Mas Pulung. Mas is a common call for the respect of the older men or boys. This is a sweet vocation in Javanese. He was a chess champion in the race for the Adolescents Group on the level of the municipality. Instead of messing around because he’s the champion. All friends of my class were hoping anxiously at me. I know, my adversaries this time was so hard, because Mas Pulung also placed as the first player to represent their class./p>

We’ve got a bye on the first play. Mas Pulung’s class just rolled up one of the classes in eighth grade with a frenzied. They were very sure that would be the first champion in chess matches at this annual sports and arts at our school. They only looked at me from the sixth grade that would be their stumbling block to go. But they still could hope from the second and third player.

In the afternoon when the chess match between my class who got the bye and the Mas Pulung class in one of the classrooms are so crowded. Nothing has spawned my class. That was considered to have more skills, just me as well. That his opponent was Mas Pulung, teen Chess Champion-level municipalities. Our class team was called upon by the Committee and asked to fill in a place that has been provided. We were herded to the place felt teammate massacre. The face of my teammate being pale. So did I.

City’s Chess Champion (Part Five)

“Draw,” said my father.

“There is no one to win and no one to lose,” he continued.

“You’re great, Mit.”

“No one can beat Father at school,” said my father afterwards.

My father was fond of this game, and he was telling the truth that all his teacher’s friends of our school couldn’t beat him. Indeed, he was telling the truth.

After the once stalemate game, then my skill on playing chess seemed to be unstoppable again. During the four next parties I only lost once when playing with father. Because him feel tired, then he stopped the game and invited me to play chess again on the next day. I was excited because could play together with Yanto and Pieter outdoors on that day.

The next day, my father invited to play chess again. This time, ten parties, and I won all of them. My father shook his head. He felt very curious about how I played. But he should go out because had to give private lessons outside of school hours. He did indeed get extra money by giving private lessons outside of school.

Day after day passed. One day I could play ten to fourteen parties against my father. I won all of the games. Sometimes my dad won two or three parties only. I became popular in schools in this game, and some teachers who were curious invited to play chess against them./p>

I served their the game at the school. And indeed none were able to beat me. The defeat of chess playing of my teachers was usually very bad. Their chess pieces until running out eliminated from table games. Eventually they no longer dared to invite me to play chess again, probably because according to them it was just only making shame as well. If losing by my father might still be able to accept, but lost by a grade two or three elementary school student in this game was obviously difficult by them to receive with ease.

City’s Chess Champion (Part Four)

I was put by Mr. Imam Rofi’ie as editor of the student magazine was not without reason. When in classes below the sixth grade, I often filled the column provided by the magazine. Starting from a section of poetry, short stories until the rubric of humor. My work got attention sufficiently from friends. Almost all of the students who knew me.

There were also my school lifting who active and had post on the Student Magazine “Derap”, but they did not play a role as redactor. All of my y three friends had position as illustrator. They are Galih, the star class who was also good at drawing, Amil, and Arie Sidharta. Drawings they made was special.

Unfortunately, after coming on as redactor, my writing productivity was actually decreased indeed. I was less eager to do anything. But I retained as redactor of the student magazine “Derap” until I graduated on eighth grade.

At that time, I was notorious for my skill about playing chess. It could be said that almost no one can beat me on that game at school. Whether it among teachers who love this game, or ordinary student like my pal.

I knew this game was originally due to be introduced by my father. Initially I was reluctant, but my father forced me to fight him on his spare time. Finally, I could not resist any longer. It started since I sat in the first grade of elementary school.

Originally I always lost by father in this game. Until one day, when I managed to hold my father stalemate. I already knew that there were stalemate ending party in this game. It happened after ten parties who all won by my father.

“Golly, stalemate, Mit,” my father said.

“What’s the meaning of stalemate, Father ?.”

City’s Chess Champion (Part Three)

I giggled and want to mock her. I picked up the piece of paper containing my poem to Ita and gave it to her. I explained to her,

“If you want to know the girl’s name, her name is on this poem, Henny.”

My sister’s name was Henny indeed, she grabbed my poems and watched. She looked frowned. I was getting excited to tease her.

“Who ?.”

“There’s her name there,” I explained.

“There’s not,” said Henny.

I laughed and teased her even more excited.

“I hid that on the poem’s phrases.”

“Of course on certain systematic, Henny.”

“There’s not.”

“There is.”

I grew up with laughter. I was getting excited to mock Henny. My younger sister who still on second grade at our school. Suddenly her face lit up.

“Aha, I know.”

“La-ti-fa,” she said. Trying to solve the puzzle on my poem.

Then she burst out laughing. Turned me helpless embarrassment. I tried to grab the paper from her hand. But apparently Henny had already wary. She maintain that piece of paper. Henny ran toward the houseyard to avoid my grabbed of the piece of paper. She giggling continued to examine the white paper writing.

“Latifa who ya, brother ?”

“Aaaah, I know, it’s obvious anyway.”

“La-ti-fa Ra-mo-ni-ta.”


Henny laughed out loud. Harder than the previous one. I chased her to return the piece of paper. She ran faster and screaming all the way.

“I know, I know.”

“I know your girlfriend’s name, big brother.”

I pursued my sister who ran to the road. I wanted to grab a piece of paper containing my poem from her hands. My sister ran very fast. Firmer than usual, so I could not chased her.


When on the sixth grade, I entered as redactor of the “Derap” student magazine. “Derap” mean “Tramp” in English. As I recall, only me was selected as editor that came on this grade. Therefore, my name was the most distended on the order of the editorial board.

City’s Chess Champion (Part Two)

Sometimes I fantasized that Arief was conducting a secret research in Japan. Since still with us, it was already apparent about his talent as a candidate for a genius scientist. The research was very very secret indeed, so the identity of the researcher then eliminated as well. Until the parents themselves could not reach them all. What about me ?, only my name is cheating just the name of a genius scientist, Enrico Fermi from Italy.

Treading the seventh grade, I fell in love with a fifth-grade student. Lol, sorry to say. I knew her name was Ita. We were pretty close as friends with students from other classes. Pupils at our school was not too much. We could almost be said to have jointly started from Kindegarten up to Junior High School.

I liked to wait Ita out of her classroom and chatting. Sometimes we talked in the library. Often she was annoyed because I jerked at her. Because of that she liked to run after me. And we chased each other on the school yard. What a romantic. The story of the courtship of the past.

It happened that I wrote a poem for her, this was my poem to Ita.

Langkah kakiku semakin perlahan.
Tikas cahaya yang kupandang pun meredup.
Fakta mengatakannya.

Ramai orang mengatakan.
Tumor yang bersemayam di tubuhku.
Sedih nian tak terkatakan.
Tengadah tangan memohon ampun padaNya.

Here’s the meaning in English,

My footsteps more slowly down.
Beam lights I looked even dimmer.
Facts say.

Crowded people say.
Tumors that dwells in me.
Sad and unspeakable.
Looked up hand begging Him for forgiveness.

I kept it in my bookcase and grinning. I soon forgot the poem until one day my number four younger sister asked,

“I’ve heard the news that you have a girlfriend.”


“You are a liar !.”

photograph by Denies Priantinah Senopranoto

City’s Chess Champion (Part One)

Chapter IX

City’s Chess Champion

I went up to the seventh grade. I went six semesters program like most of my friends. There are only two students who attended the four semesters program. Indeed we had acceleration program on our school. They are Galih and Arief. If you followed the four semesters program, then you will been leaving school a year faster than others who attending the regular program.

Galih was distinguished and prominent student since entering the school. He had been the talk of teachers since kindergarten. His drawing ability was so prominent. Galih had very stable academic achievement at school. Sometimes, I was jealous of the attention gained by Galih on school.

I know, actually I was also able to follow this acceleration class, and I want to. I just needed to sit still and study harder. But my energy was up to the conflict constantly with my father. I did not fight openly. But the energy I needed to act and think normally be drained about it.

Arief entered our school as a transfer student after graduating from elementary school elsewhere. His leadership was very prominent. He liked to force other kids. He had very strong determination. After four semesters program in our school and graduated, he then went on his secondary education on Third Malang’s Public High School. Perhaps it is a most school favorite high school in the city of Malang. That Public High Scool’s prominency and favoriteness are still prolonged till now.

On Third Malang’s Public High School, he had won the youth national research competition. Arief won the first place on this championship. Then he went to Japan attending higher education. I heard that he was a lecturer UM later. UM is the abbreviation for the Malang State University which being continuation of Malang Teachers’ Training College. But he never return home again to us after school in Japan. In fact it was said that his parents can no longer reach him. Arief vanished like was swallowed by the earth.

photograph by Emile Gede Seno Aji