A brief look around any tournament hall will tell you that we chess players aren't exactly catwalk material or at the forefront of the fashion industry, Vivienne Westwood isn't going to be paying any of us a visit anytime soon!
Not only have we no fashion sense but some of us are... how can I say it... 'hygiene impaired' I recall two separate occasions when I've played, what shall I call them? ... erm ... 'scruffy bastards!'.
Scruff 1, or lets call him 'Pongo' was a strange mixture of styles, outwardly he looked 'normal' wore a Navy Blue Blazer and Tie, it was only on closer inspection I knew something was wrong. The training shoes caught my eye straight away, Its not the first choice of attire to go with the Tie and Suit, quite a juxtaposition. Immediately to me the word Tramp springs to mind.
It got worse, when I took my seat to play him I noticed that the stains on his shirt quite literally stood out! The collar on the shirt was brown, Its was a white shirt! His fingers were nicotine brown, he even rolled cigarettes at the board and the length of his nails was astonishing, I think the cure for cancer may have been trapped in the muck under those Griffin like claws!
And man the smell, this guy must have avoided water like a Gremlin. 'Pongo' played for a local team but I'd never seen him before or since so I don't know what's become of him, I only hope he's cleaned up his act.
Needless to say Pongo absolutely slaughtered me, I couldn't sit near the board because the smell was that bad, Folks I kid you not.
Scruff 2, or 'Whiffy' was more like your stereotypical 'soap dodger' sporting tracksuit bottoms circa 1983, probably the last time they were washed, a jumper of the same vintage and a coat that the "Antiques Road Show" would have been interested in!
|"What? I'll have you know I brush twice a day!"
His hair, what was left of it was unkempt and incredibly dirty, imagine the matted hair around the arse of a Sheepdog and you'll get the picture. At one point I thought he was going to ask if I had any spare change for a cup of tea! The complete tramp ensemble was only missing a frayed rope belt.
And yet again Whiffy also had enormous fingernails, what is it with these guys and their extra long fingernails? Perhaps they need to be extra long to scrape off the layers of crud!
Its guys like this who give us that unmistakable tournament hall aroma! Thankfully the chess-playing majority know the location of their baths/showers!