The typical setup for a game of chess involves so much more than just a board and 32 pieces when you play as poorly as I do. Dozens of scraps of paper covered with crabbed notes from Staunton's Chess-Player's Handbook (I adore his bitchy attitude and disdain for weak players such as myself), a scratch pad where I can notate my imminent demise, a lucky rabbit's foot, a picture of my sainted mother for inspiration, a cellophane envelope reputed to contain a splinter from a nunchaku reputedly used by Bruce Lee (patron saint of self-defense) — it's a wonder I can even see the board. Not that it matters, because my openings are atrocious, and my defense is scattershot. Perhaps it's time to simplify the approach and focus solely on practice. Every Monday from 6 to 8 p.m., the St. Louis Public Library... More >>>