I was transcribing my journal from last year yesterday, and came across an interesting thought in my head. It said, “Is there any other game named after the worst way to lose it?”
Well, I can think of at least three games where the name of the game is also a way to lose. Let me go through each of them.
(Oh, dang. I just lost The Game!)
One board game which I learnt a long time ago, but had not played in a long time: backgammon. I remember from long ago playing with poor strategy and often getting stuck on the bar. When I picked up the game again a few winter breaks ago, I learnt more about the strategy and got a lot better at the game. However, I also found out that the name of the game is the worst way to lose!
If you lose but bear off at least one of your pieces, you simply lose. If you lose but have none of your pieces off the board, then that is a gammon, which is a “double loss.” If you are gammoned and additionally have any pieces in the opponent’s home board or on the bar, you are backgammoned and suffer a triple loss.
I’ve been backgammoned on at least one occasion. :p
Yesterday, at Hillel, I watched a backgammon game between Hillel’s rabbi and one of the Hillel staff members who was playing for the first time. The first-timer won!
Also yesterday at Hillel, I watched another game for which the name is one of the ways to lose… but not immediately. I wanted to play, but four people were already playing, and it takes exactly four people. That game would be euchre. Euchre is like mini-bridge, in the sense of bidding for a trump suit based off your hand. If the declaring side fails to take the majority of the tricks, they are said to be euchred and it scores two points for the defending side. While I watched yesterday, there were no cases where the declaring side got euchred. It is probably a rare occasion unless the Stick-The-Dealer rule is in effect.
And then, the last one that I present is not named the way to lose in English, but in Hebrew. The Hebrew name of the game is שחמט (transliterated schach-maht). And despite the fact that it is a game that people of analytical minds may play well, the times that I have played the game competitively, it did not end well–I played in three tournaments in the Cornhusker State Games (2004, 2005, and 2006), compiling a combined 0-10-3 record.
And at one point (not in any of the tournaments, thankfully), I got blitzed because I was not aware of the position shown in this following video.
Yep, שחמט is the Hebrew transliteration of “checkmate” (as well as chess, which may also be called שח). I am terrible at chess. I get checkmated… a lot!
What other games can you think of where the name of the game is a way to lose it?
Today is the three hundred and seventy-eighth day of Mission 441. Sixty-three days remain.