Sven didn't have a clue what to his next move should be. He sat across the table from Illona and stared down at the board between them. His mind, however, was on other things. His appointments, or rather the lack of them. Nothing for the next ten days. If his lesson rate kept on like this, he'd be bankrupt in the space of a few months. He looked up at his wife opposite. They weren't speaking. Illona hadn't said a word since he'd first mooted the possibility of his not going back to Romania this year. This was her usual ploy to get what she wanted. First she'd use a flirt. If that didn't work, she refused to speak. It nearly always worked. But today, Sven would not give in. Surely, she could understand how much they would save if he stayed at home. And he might even be able to get back into the summer school scene. He was annoyed at her lack of flexibility. Surely, even she could see that they couldn't go on like this. If they didn't move, something Illona didn't want because it would take her even further away from her ageing parents, then he would have to try something else. But in this hole, all he could find was waiting on the hundreds of tourists who flocked every evening to the two village restaurants and stayed until well past midnight. But doing that would mean giving up his folk music group, something he was not willing to do at any cost.

Illona sat on the other side of the table and wondered how things had come to this point. Sure, times were hard, they were hard for everybody. And they had been through tough times before this. In those days, they had learnt to support each other, and they had made it through. But those days were gone. She could see Sven suffering but didn't know how to support him. And the solutions he proposed were so short term, she could not go along with them. That just made the situation worse. Sven was angry at her for not backing him and he clammed up. He no longer took her into his confidence as he had done before. Besides, he was always attacking her on the subject of her parents. Couldn't he see how needy they were. Being so far away Illona couldn't do much; she knew that. But now Sven wasn't even willing to support her in the little she could do. And all he thought about was his precious musician friends. They were rapidly taking the place she had once had in his life. Was there any way out.

Finally, Sven brought his thoughts back to the game. He wanted to finish it off, a stunning move which would lay the matter at rest once and for all. But he was too tired to look. Instead, he advanced his pawn, trying to put pressure on Illona and force her into a mistake. But the mistake was his. He had left Illona with no avenues open. Illona sighed and spoke her first word since breakfast: Stalemate.


Phew, this is quite a ramble, a battle of wills, I guess - the spirit of the age.

8 April 2009 at 11:05  

I echo what Andy says..

The shadows form a shade around me

8 April 2009 at 15:08  

Interwoven clashes with such fine detailing!!
Enjoyed reading..

8 April 2009 at 16:09  

I like how this takes place during a chess match. Life is a chess match.

8 April 2009 at 17:53  

Not bad. Not bad at all. I can see the beginnings of a very nice story in there. As it stands now, it seems a little rushed and, for me, there isn't enough explanation for a few things: for example, what does he teach? I was distracted by that question while reading the rest of the story.

In general, though, I think if you're going to use a chess game as a motif, perhaps using a bit more of the terminology in the story itself would help? Maybe add a move at the end of each paragraph? I don't know. I think you have a rough gem, here, maybe even a diamond, but you'll have to do some cutting and polishing to find out. I think it might be worth the effort for you to do that, but that's just my opinion. The others so far seem to like it as it is.

Definitely something to think about, though.

8 April 2009 at 18:30  

You definitely have the makings of a much more intricate tale here. I was caught up in the possibilities and would love to read the fleshed out version that answers all the questions.

9 April 2009 at 12:41  

Cool I must say.
And you using chess match as a lifes metaphor was gud


12 April 2009 at 15:47  

Made me think of Oprah last week. Had show about relationships ending because of the economic problems. Sad when couples can't work together to get through things.

14 April 2009 at 00:59  

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