Chertsey conkers or chess?
So, I have read the first few pages of ‘How to succeed in chess openings’. it is a book for primary school kids—five and six year olds. It seems to me that children of today are expected, and are able to grasp anything that is given to them.
It didn’t happen in my day! At least not to me. They say that everyone is good at something at some time in their life, my moment of glory, although very short lived, comes to my mind whenever I see a nice shiny conker, (my horizons have never been very high).
The conker trees in Mr Stanfords farm were pretty good, if you could throw a biggish stick high enough you could have a nice big conker. It would last quite a few conker tournaments. That is before David Ralph from Pound Pond Road came into the play ground with his special conkers. It was said he used to soak them in vinegar to harden them, but this maybe just a rumour put about by his victims.
There was a rather spindly conker tree in ‘The Carpenters Arms Pub’ in Pyrcroft road. It never produced any conkers though, until one year I found a lovely unopened conker on the pavement. I looked up and sure enough the tree was completely devoid of any more conkers
. My friend David Mawford who lived opposite the Carpenters, and he should know this. Told me that the reason the tree never never gave any conkers was because the men would come out of the pub and have a Pee against the tree.
Now, without putting too fine a point on this, it is sufficient to say that this poor spindly conker tree used this —shall we say vinegary substance to enhance the single conker that it ever produced.
I couldn’t wait to challenge the Pound Pond Champion and his favourite conker, some said it was indestructible. We squared up in front of the rest of the school, even Mr Thomas came out to see us, the tournament lasted all of five minutes.
He won of course, but at least I lasted longer than anyone else.
I think that chess is a bit like this, some you lose and some you lose.