"Good morning, Mr. Papp."

"Ms. Zoe."

"How good of you to come."

"More so than any other morning?" He downed the pills. "Just came for my fix."

"And is the medication working?"

"Some. No fits, at least."

"Any side effects?"

"Still want to puke at times, but I can stand it."

"Sleeping?"

"No. That all?"

"Oh, please, sit down."

He did.

"You have that Father Confessor look, Ms. Zoe. I warn you, it's been seven years since my last confession. How's your stamina?"

"I merely want to ask you how your chess class went with Marcy. Did you find her a competent student?"

"Too soon to tell. She's quick enough. Retention is the question."

"I don't think she'll disappoint you there."

"Good memory?"

"For the most part, yes."

"But not always."

"No. She does forget sometimes."

"Memory is a funny mechanism—'fickle.' For instance, Marcy asked me yesterday about a chess term she'd heard somewhere. She had no idea what it meant. But it jogged my memory so much I've been up with it half the night."

"I don't think I…"

"No, you couldn't; I'll explain. It concerned a famous championship. After Marcy left I reconstructed one of its best-known games, and before I knew what happened I'd played all twenty. Odd, isn't it, how the tiniest fragment will reactivate whole episodes? How's your memory, Ms. Zoe?"

"Sometimes I think more feeble and fickle, certainly compared to one like yours. Do you remember everything, or just those things in which you're interested?"

"It's all accessible. You'd be surprised what I can pull, even from the cradle. Very Oedipal. I shouldn't say 'all,' though. There are a few impressions I suspect 'lurk un-retrieved.' It's like they're waiting for me to find some novel means of understanding, as if they're so removed from my immediate experience that nothing I ordinarily envision describes them. I think forgetting certain dreams is a similar phenomenon. If something totally unfamiliar happens in our sleep, something that defies associations, chances are we'll lose it once awake—the result of being programmed by a literal reality."

"You've apparently thought about this a great deal."

"Of course. When your mind is the repository for every piddling bit of information, it's natural to wonder how and why. Are you familiar with categorization?"

"If you mean the mind's ability to store and classify things, yes."

"I guess that's apt. In some of my exhibitions I play as many as ten games simultaneously. Each one merely occupies its own niche in my head. I just skip from board to board, making the respective moves. It's a terrific stunt. Tends to mystify the uninitiated. But actually, it's no big deal. Everybody can do it to an extent. Marcy, for example."

"Oh?"

"You said she forgets selectively."

"Did I?"

"Her mind obviously is categorizing. Anything she chooses not to remember, she stores in a special niche—the one with the gatekeeper."

1. e4............

 

1.e4         
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.

15.
16.
17.
*
1                
2
3
4
0
5
6
7
8
9
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

"Gatekeeper?"

The Miniature Man, of course, but suppressed it. He felt he had said enough already, enough to serve notice formally: The Game had begun.

"Just a pet theory of mine, Ms. Zoe. I should thank you, by the way."

"For what?"

"Well, I realize the emphasis Catholics place on good appearances, and how, on the surface, Marcy's coming to my room might be misread. So I thank you for braving public opinion in deference to my class's need for privacy. The recreation hall—though charming—is simply not conducive to the concentration chess demands."

"I'm afraid I may have to disappoint you on that score, Mr. Papp. Though appearances do often belie intentions, an argument can also be made for substance following form. Our diverse population warrants a degree of liberality, but the privacy of which you speak is stretching things… Unless you would be willing to expand your class to include more pupils? A number of people have expressed an interest."

1............e5

 

1.e4           
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.

15.
16.
17.
*
1e5         
2
3
4
0
5
6
7
8
9
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

"Out of the question."

2. Nf3............

 

1.e4           
2.
Nf3
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.

15.
16.
17.
*
1e5         
2
3
4
0
5
6
7
8
9
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

"I think we ought to resume, then, the original agreement."

2............Nc6

 

1.e4           
2. Nf3
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.

15.
16.
17.
*
1e5         
2
Nc6
3
40
5
6
7
8
9
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

"I'd have no objection to a chaperon. Ms. Clara might oblige."

3. Bc4............

 

1.e4           
2. Nf3
3.
Bc4
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.

15.
16.
17.
*
1e5         
2Nc6
3
0
4
5
6
7
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9
1
0
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0
0

"Well that's a thought. She's very busy, but I can certainly ask her. Or someone else. Come to think of it, Sister Dana might be more available."

3.............Bc5

 

1.e4           
2. Nf3
3. Bc4
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.

15.
16.
17.
*
1e5         
2Nc6
3
Bc5
40
5
6
7
8
9
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

"Whomever."

 

Wednesday...

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