"Amberley excelled at chess -- one mark, Watson, of a scheming mind."By the standard of this quintessential quote from late in the Canon, I could never be accused of having a scheming mind. Chess is a wonderful game at which I am terrible.
-- Sherlock Holmes, "The Adventure of the Retired Colourman
Nevertheless, Dr. R. Joel Senter and I started a Sherlock Holmes group some years ago for chess-playing Sherlockians. It was called the Scheming Minds of Sherlock Holmes. We had these cool T-shirts and sweatshirts, designed by Gerald D. Stratton, associate professor emeritus of fine arts at the University of Cincinnati. We also had about six members. (The way to become a member was by playing a game of chess with another member. That's all it took.)
Although I no longer play the game, I recently included a chess match in a chapter of The 1895 Murder. I am almost finished writing the first draft of this book, which will be the third mystery in my Sebastian McCabe - Jeff Cody series.
I didn't think Jeff would be any better at chess than I am, so I had him take my part in a game I played online with my nephew, Professor Tobias Brauer, on Feb. 1, 2007. Toby beat me in six moves. For those of you who are curious and play chess, here's how the game went down:
I was black. As I said, I was never very good at the game, which I took up at the age of 52.