A game of chess in Okayama

I visited Okayama in July 2015.

Neither one of us gained much of an advantage in the opening, I was afraid he might be slightly ahead but it looked very equal. I wondered how good he was, if I would lose again. My confidence, after Osaka, wasn’t very high. I needed this win. I took one more look on the board and castled. My king was safe, I was ready.

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Fully focused on the game

A friend of mine living in Tokyo had mentioned there was an Australian bar in Okayama which was supposed to be worth a visit. After visiting the beautiful Koraku Park, and spending a few hours in the hotel doing laundry I went out to eat, and after food I wanted a beer.

Aussie Bar was not far from the restaurant, so I headed there. It wasn’t many people there that night, it was the last night of a three day weekend, people were tired.

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It was a very quiet night

An Australian was there with some friends and I talked with them for a while, it is not often I meet a fellow fan of Australian Football, a love I picked up while living in Australia. It was a nice night and I went back to my hotel a little later than planned.

The game still looks very even. I have seen a few possible traps to set up, but never risked it yet. He looks to be playing very solid, I am sure he would spot any trap I try to create. Instead I try to complicate the game a bit. Open it up. If he threatens one of my pieces, look for ways to threathen one of his back.

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Can I win this?

The game is getting sharper. Hopefully my plan works. He looks to be a solid player, but maybe not so comfortable in positions like these. He is using more and more times on his moves, thinking hard.

I returned to Aussie Bar on my last night of the three I spent in Okayama. The day before I had been to Himeji to see the castle, and found myself in the middle of Oktoberfest, the last day I had travelled to Matsuyama on the island of Shikoku, home of the famous Dogo Onsen (hot spring).

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The walls are filled with memories

This night was quiet too. Two Americans were there, as well as the Aussie I had met the night before. We ended up talking, comparing our experiences in Japan. When I mentioned my vist to a chess club in Osaka I was quickly challenged to a game. I had played horribly in Osaka, now was my chance to redeem myself.

I think he might have made a small mistake. He has left a very strong square open. It looks to be covered, the knight I would put there could be exchanged, but that would open a huge hole in my opponents defence, a hole I could capitalise on almost immediately by pushing my b-pawn.

I move my knight, my opponent thinks for a while, not as long as usual though, before accepting the exchange. He can’t have seen it. I take his knight, with a threath to his rook at the same time, he moves the rook out of the way. And I push my b-pawn, the winning move he had not seen.

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The bar

He sits in silence, staring at the board, for a minute, almost two, before looking up at me.

“I’ve lost,” he says. “I give up.” We shake hands, finally I have won a game of chess in Japan.

This was fun. Just a game between two friends, no time control, no notation. Drinking beer as we play. Not as serious as in Osaka. This is the kind of chess I like. Purely entertainment, not serious at all.

I offered him a re-match, he declined. Too tired he said.

Not long after, the bar closes. I head back to my hotel. Tomorrow my stay in Okayama is over, Tokyo and then Fuji Rock Festival awaits.

Seems I must have been unlucky and turned up on two quiet nights at the bar. From pictures I have seen the bar is often packed. The burgers they serve looks good too, every night I was there burgers were ordered as take-aways.

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The owner is a Cats fan

If you are in Okayama, why not pay a visit to Aussie bar. Even Lonely Planet recommends it (I noticed this after my visit actually).

Follow my chess travels:

My previous chess games were at An Pasan Chess Club in Osaka and at a public square in Sarajevo.

5 comments on “A game of chess in Okayama

  1. awtytravels says:

    Nice post! I loved the way you mixed the narration of the chess match and your – albeit quiet – evening at the bar. Congrats for the win!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] My next game is in Okayama, Japan. […]

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  3. […] in Okayama, my last night in the city, I headed to Aussie Bar for a beer and a game of […]

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