Queen's Gambit Accepted
based on Campy's story "Mating Games"
©Copyright by Jeriddian 2007
Disclaimer: Kim Possible and all related characters are property of the Disney Channel.
Also based on the first three seasons of the television series
FanFiction Rating: M
I would like to thank Campy for his permission to let me base this story on his own tale "Mating Games". I would recommend that you read his story as a prequel to my own, even though he's still one chapter away from finishing it. What is already posted will still give you the basis for this one. This story really appealed to me because of the character of Kevin Guberman, with whom I can identify very closely. Like him, I had two physicians for parents, I did well in school, and I was my high school chess club captain, as well as the city junior chess champion and city high school champion. Of course, that was so many years ago, I can hardly remember it now. Where Campy's story is more lighthearted and teen oriented, this one is more serious and involved with the characters. In other words the drama is ratcheted up another notch. I hope you enjoy it, especially if you were a nerd chess player back in high school like I was.
Also, for those of you who are chess aficianados, I'm an old timer when it comes to chess notation, so I don't like to use the algebraic format. I hope that doesn't incovenience things too much.
Tara Monroe sat nervously in front of the chess board, facing off her opponent from the other side, a spectacled red headed boy from Upperton High who was quietly adjusting his white chess men into their starting positions. She sighed, knowing that her wearing the blouse with the horizontal stripes wasn't going to do her any good this time. Those coke bottle lenses he sported would not let him see anything beyond the chessboard itself. She looked over at her boyfriend, Kevin Guberman, who was also the chess team captain, and frowned, nodding her head in her opponent's direction to point that out. He quietly smirked and laughed to himself. He had told her that she didn't need to dress like that because her smarts were more than enough to win against any of these guys, but it was also true that it had been an effective strategy. Her stunning blonde looks, decked out in seemingly demure, yet still suggestive outfits, had been disconcerting enough to several of her opponents here at the annual Tri-City high school chess tournament to disrupt their games against her.
'Well', she thought with amusement, 'It got Kevin too, the first time we played face to face.'
But Kevin was never distracted like that again, and it was true that against the better players at the tournament it still didn't work, so she had to rely on her acumen in chess play to win those games when she was able, and she had been quite able as it turned out. The tournament had gone very well. She and Kevin each had some wins and several draws each, but more importantly no losses. This was the final game in the tournament and the board was being followed by all the contestants. The two faculty sponsors of the chess clubs from both high schools were there to monitor the match and were now setting the chess clock. Even the local news was there, as the story about the "blond bombshell cheerleader" who was beating all the chess geeks in the tournament had become a local gossip item.
The tally had the Middleton High Chess Club in the overall lead by half a game over Upperton High. The individual lead was held by Kevin who was a half game ahead of the two players tied for the second. Those two were Tara, who was now second board position on the MHS squad, and the red headed kid she now faced. This game would decide the individual and team championships. All she needed was a draw for Middleton High to win both first place trophies.
Everything was ready. The two faculty looked at each other and nodded. One of them put the chess clock down and pressed the button on Black's side, starting the clock for White. The game had begun. Each of them now had two hours to make forty moves apiece. The red-headed kid studied the board carefully, looked up at Tara with a stern face, then made his first move, pawn to queen four. He punched the time clock. Tara smiled to herself, sure he must have seen her play in the three games where she played Black against a king pawn opening. She had played the Sicilian Defense against each one and beat all three adversaries hands down within thirty-five moves, even when one of them tried the Fischer variation. She had to admire her opponent's shrewdness. The kid was smart enough to have followed her game playing and not her looks. He knew she would likely play the Sicilian to another king pawn game, and must have seen she had learned the different variations of that opening very well.
Tara considered her response. Briefly, she thought of trying an unconventional opening like the Reti system which started with the unusual opening knight move, but quickly discarded that. Smoothly reaching towards the board, she responded in kind with the matching pawn to queen four, punching the time clock afterwards. The red-headed kid perused the board briefly and soon made his reply, moving pawn to queen bishop four, tantalizing her with the free pawn for the taking. But Tara knew the risk of this 'gift'. Taking the pawn would gain her a material advantage, but it would also give White the control of the center and a clear positional superiority.
'Okay.', she thought, 'the Queen's Gambit. So far, so good.'
She took her time now. As she stared at the board, deep in thought, Kevin noticed she had hesitated and looked at her, puzzled. Normally when a game started, the first seven to eight moves on each side of a chess opening went very quickly as they were all very well established. One did not normally vary from them without very good reason because any such variation would usually spell disaster. Good players would always get through them quickly, knowing exactly what the other player was going to do in the early stages. It was once you got past them into the middle game where solid chess theory broke down that things got interesting. But here, Tara was thinking longer than usual on just the second move. Frowning, Kevin looked at his girlfriend, wondering what was going through her mind.
Then she reached out and took the white queen bishop pawn with her queen pawn. As she punched the clock, a murmur of interest ran through the gallery. The red-headed kid looked up in mild surprise, and Kevin's eyes were wide in shock. She had accepted the gambit, and he saw she intended to go all out for the win, not even considering the draw.
Tara looked at him and smiled, winking. She knew what was going through his mind. Normally, the best play was to decline the gambit. That offered the best chances at victory for Black. Accepting the gambit made for more exciting action, but it was riskier, and White was almost always the winner in those games. Kevin wanted so much to say something, but of course couldn't in the middle of play. He chewed on his lip and peered back at her in consternation, but she simply turned her attention back to the board with a serene look as the game again went on briskly.
Kevin relaxed, liking that move. She was going for the fianchetto of the bishop, placing the bishop in front of her knight which could then attack across the long diagonal of the board from corner to corner and straight through the crucial center squares. This would significantly strengthen her position.
This last move got Tara's attention. Now that she no longer had her queen pawn there to run interference, the red headed kid was trying to find a way to power himself down the queen file straight into the heart of Black's defense.
'Whoa,', she thought, 'That's so not what I expected.'
Worried she had missed something, she studied the board closely, then a subtle smile came to her face.
'No.', she thought, 'He jumped the gun.'
She grinned wider as she worked out her options, and things slowed down considerably. The first quick opening moves out of the way, the two contestants were completely engrossed in their tactics and took their time to determine their responses.
Kevin watched quietly, his distress dissolving away as he watched Tara make her moves. As he thought about it, he realized that this should have been no surprise. She had always favored the more aggressive openings like the Sicilian. But she was also not foolhardy. In Queen Gambits she almost always played the declined variations. but something about this red-headed kid's play must have sparked her to go for broke. He had noted Tara's opponent didn't use a king pawn opening against her, so he was sure that he had studied her play in between his own games. And this kid was Upperton's top player, better than his teammate whom Kevin had beaten last year with his obscure queen pawn opening play on his way to the championship. They had been cautious about this red-headed kid because of his reputation as a good player, and Kevin and Tara both studied his play on their off time from competition. Kevin wasn't sure what it was, but whatever Tara saw had made her think he was ripe for the taking with this unusual strategy.
He had to chuckle. She had been challenged outright, seemingly goaded to step into the ring of sixty four black and white squares in the mental wrestling match of a game normally dominated by men, thought to be easy pickings merely because of her sex. But to everyone's surprise, including him, she had boldly accepted the challenge. So, the gambit was on.
He thought, 'God, that is so like her, so confident.'
It was true. They had both come so far this school year, and he was so thankful he was a part of her life. The last twelve months had been exhilarating, traumatic, awesome, surprising, even terrifying at one point. But he would never trade it for anything. It made him think again how incredible their lives had been over that tumultuous time, and he thought again of how his queen had accepted the gambit in life as well.