Its 2006, Fiona Cummins is on her honeymoon in Queensland, and a few husband-baffling chess help comes from an unexpected source
As a former show business journalist, Ive met my fair share of stars George Clooney and Michael Jackson to name(drop) a couple of them and been invited to the glitziest celebrations in the A list calendar. In December 2006, work was the furthest thing from my head.
Id only married my wonderful husband Jason, and we were beside ourselves with excitement in the prospect of our three-week honeymoon in Australia. Lizard Island, the most northern resort in Queensland and found about the Great Barrier Reef, was the initial stop. It was an ideal spot to relax following the frenzied run up to our wedding. We spent long, idle days snorkelling and wandering over the sand. We’d have a leisurely dinner before heading to the pub to get some drinks most evenings. Always, one of us would imply a game of chess and then it had been war.
I once upended the Scrabble board since I used to be losing, so youll have some notion of the positions, although I loathe to say Im competitive. On a single night, it wasn’t looking great. Jason, who’s considerably more of a strategist than me, had promised several of my bits. While I contemplated my next move grinning in the prospect of some other success, he disappeared to the bathroom.
At that instant, a shadow loomed over me, as well as a gravelly voice interrupted my glum ideas of defeat. You should transfer that piece there, described the voice. When youve done that, transfer this piece over here.
With nothing to reduce, this seemed like excellent guidance, and that I peeked up to thank my mystery saviour. Standing next to the table, scrutinising the plank having a look of attention, was none besides Donald Sutherland.
Given the type of my occupation, I had not been regularly starstruck, but the sight of Hawkeye Pierce from the movie version of M*A*S*H giving me suggestions about how to win at chess left me almost speechless.
I mumbled my thanks before ambling away, and he gave me a conspiratorial grin. When Jason reappeared my pieces casually transferred as proposed, and within several minutes success was mine.
My sudden change in bundle baffled my new husband and, needless to say, I milked it for all. Nevertheless, I did ultimately admit all in the end, however. It turned out that Mr Sutherland was staying on the isle while shooting the movie Fools Gold, but we didnt see him again for the remainder of our stay.
Which meant that has been the last time Jason is beaten by me at chess.
Fiona Cumminss introduction crime thriller Rattle is released by Macmillan at 12.99. Order a copy for 11.04 from bookshop.theguardian.com