Excuses

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Excuses for losing at chess

The first dozen of the following seventy-odd excuses for not winning were published by Bill Wall of Sutton Coldfield Chess Club. However, their original site notes that he may have collected at least some of them from other sources

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Let's make a start with eight of my own favourite excuses!

Paul Fawcett:

  • Alzheimer's just reared its ugly head.
  • My sainted Granny just croaked (I've killed the ol' gal off at least 4 other times).
  • Gnomes & elves moved my pieces around during the night.
  • I was abducted by aliens from Tau Ceti.
  • I lost vision in my glass eye & moved the wrong piece.
  • Coco's analyses were wrong (Coco is my cat).
  • Lost the drift of the game explaining to my wife that chess notation isn't a secret code for a girlfriend.
  • My computer is making changes to my games whilst I sleep.

Bill Wall's list (Sutton Coldfield Chess Club):

  • Dead batteries in hidden transmitter.
  • Went outside for fresh air, forgot about tournament, kept on walking.
  • Disturbed by own reflection in opponent’s sunglasses.
  • Confused ECO A29 line 13 note 87c with ECO A13 line 87c, lost queen.
  • Unlucky pairing with historical nemesis G. Kasparov.
  • Studied book How to Beat Bobby Fischer, was unprepared for other opponents.
  • Two words: opponent’s breath.
  • Shouldn’t have played on my opponent’s green and red Florentine set.
  • Forgot to say “J’adoube.”
  • My opponent did not follow my plan.
  • Distracted by my opponent’s time pressure.
  • He shouldn’t have played on in a lost position.
  • I thought it was a different time control, 40 moves in 5 hours.
  • I wanted to adjourn, but he made me play a move.
  • My opponent foolishly declined a draw.
  • My opponent looked as if he had a contagious disease, so I thought it best not to take any of his pieces.
  • My position deteriorated while I was in the toilet.
  • I had a clear advantage, and then my opponent found this lucky checkmate.
  • Every single one of my pieces was optimally placed; unfortunately it was my turn to move.
  • I was warned that a week earlier my opponent had beaten a GM - with an iron bar.
  • I lost on time while trying to decide whether to accept his cheeky draw offer.
  • It was stalemate, but then he played an illegal move, and I decided to play on because I thought I could mate him.
  • Bishops can move backwards? Since when?
  • Queens have crowns and there’s one in each corner, right?
  • I’d always thought that en passant was just another word for castling.
  • I wanted to see if the refutation worked, and I was proved right.
  • My perpetual check didn’t last very long.
  • The position was dead level apart from the fact that she could win a piece by force.
  • Everyone agreed I was winning, except my opponent.
  • I ought to have been more suspicious when he kept rushing to the book stall during the opening.
  • She idiotically blundered away her queen without realising that it was in fact a brilliant sacrifice.
  • I played the French Defence without realising that my opponent was a staunch Euro-sceptic.
  • He played the Exchange Variation of the French Defence, which everybody knows is drawish, but he played it all wrong.
  • I played Alekhine’s Defence, but placed too much faith in the principle of not moving the same piece twice in the opening.
  • Thought I’d try the King’s Gambit, but became demoralised when I went a pawn down on move two.
  • I played the Benko Gambit, but now regret my decision to castle queenside.
  • He refused to use my “lucky” clock.
  • My captain told me a draw was no good for the team, so I quickly resigned.
  • It was a theoretical draw, but my opponent wasn’t smart enough to realise this.
  • I would’ve won on time if he hadn’t have checkmated me.
  • The table was on a slope, which meant that his pawn queened first.
  • After the game I discovered that the chessboard we’d been using had an odd number of squares.
  • I reached out my hand to offer him a draw, but in so doing knocked my king over with my arm, and the gesture was misinterpreted.
  • My opponent wasn’t very bright, and afterwards it took me all of fifteen minutes to explain to him how and why he’d won.
  • Forgot to stop the clocks when I went to look for the arbiter.
  • Afterwards he admitted that if it wasn’t for my two blunders he might not have won.
  • He was extremely fortunate to win as earlier he had missed a mate in two.
  • Cosmic rays.
  • When I blame it on “dark forces,” I’m not just referring to the fact that he had the black pieces.
  • After a great deal of thought I sacrificed a piece, but next move I forgot why.
  • I wanted to see what would happen if I fianchettoed a knight instead of a bishop.
  • I make up all my own openings, y’know.
  • His knight wasn’t pinned after all.
  • It was a rook and pawn ending, but he had the rook.
  • Played QxN instead of NxQ.
  • I played all the right moves, although not necessarily in the right order.
  • She was in complete zugzwang, but then she found a way out of it.
  • My superior opening knowledge ran out when we reached the endgame.
  • Apart from the result, I actually played quite well.
  • He played a stupid gambit that just happened to work.
  • When he said he was twenty-four-twenty-five I though he was talking about his age.
  • My position kept getting better and better until finally I had to give up.
  • They’ll have to rewrite the opening books after that game!
  • He knew he was facing a superior player, so he raised his game accordingly.
  • My opponent saw me queuing for a coffee and told me I had enough time left for a couple of sandwiches as well.
  • I played a rook sacrifice, but he took my queen instead.
  • My partially-sighted opponent insisted I wear a blindfold to even things up.
  • I castled queenside, which was unlucky because ten moves later my opponent decided to attack down that very side.
  • The set had a bishop missing, so we had to use a spare pawn in its place. Need I go on?
  • Just bought Karpov’s book Learn From Your Defeats, and I was anxious to put it to good use.
  • Sat down at board 16 in the Major instead of board 91 in the Minor.
  • I was forced to play inferior moves in order to surprise him.
  • My lying opponent assured me that a draw would mean we would share first prize.
  • When I saw the letters IM on the scoreboard I assumed they were his initials.
  • I would’ve won the endgame if we’d got that far.
  • He reached the middlegame before I did.
  • I got my king stuck in my eye when I dozed off.
  • My opponent poisoned a pawn while I was on a toilet break.
  • He played the opening moves in the wrong order.
  • I was saving myself for a better opponent.
  • His knight just jumped over my impregnable pawn formation. Filip Comley
  • I gained the element of surprise by sealing an inferior move. Arthur Kent
  • I had a toothache during the first game. In the second game I had a headache. In the third game it was an attack of rheumatism. In the fourth game, I wasn't feeling well. And in the fifth game? Well, must one have to win every game? Sawielly Tartakower
  • Played a brilliant sacrificial attack including my queen, both bishops, a knight, and four pawns, only to realize that the checkmate-delivering rook was pinned to my king. Taalan Liebermann