Chapter 23:

A prodigy in the making

En Passant Grandmaster

Everyone gathered round as Mimoko and Okisato faced off. As soon as Okisato moved his pawn to c4, both him and Mimoko went into full-focus mode as the pieces began flying across the board. Mimoko rapidly moved her pawn to b6 while Okisato moved his knight to c3.

"Bishop b7, e4, e6 , e5, d6, they really are into it," Hagemi thought as she watched the match.

Not a word had been spoken by either of the players as they remained focused. As soon as Okisato moved his knight to f3, Mimoko drew first blood by capturing the pawn at e5 with her d-pawn. Okisato promptly captured the offending pawn with his knight, while Mimoko countered by moving her pawn to f6, prompting Okisato to move his knight to g4 on his next turn. Mimoko then moved her bishop to c5, but as soon as Okisato moved his bishop to d3…

"Ah, I screwed up," Okisato sighed as Mimoko captured the bishop at d3 with her queen.

"Heh? He's gonna get beat in fewer moves than he beat four-eyes," Hagemi grinned as Okisato moved his pawn to a3.

"Hmm? You can see that far ahead?" Maida asked as Mimoko moved her king to f7.

"Yeah, mate in 3," Hagemi grinned as Okisato moved his pawn to b4.

Mimoko quickly moved her bishop to d4 followed by Okisato moving his pawn to h4. Mimoko then mercilessly captured the pawn at g2 with her bishop causing Okisato to let out a sigh as he moved his rook to h2.

"Checkmate," Mimoko declared as she moved her queen to f1.

Everyone stared in shock.

"D- Did you let her win?" a nervous student asked.

“No, I really was playing my best, but I messed up. Mistakes are more prone to happen the faster you play,” Okisato sighed.

Hagemi, meanwhile, had a massive grin on her face as she stared at Mimoko. "Heh? You really are somethin’ special. Tonight at the tournament, you're playing in the open section so we can see how good you really are. That, and we can properly face each other there."

"Huh? You're entering the tournament, Okaa!?" Yuusuke cried.

"Yeah, I know I said I'd sit on the sidelines, but now that there's some worthy competition. Let me just send out the word that I'm in."

The students all began murmuring until Maida got their attention. "Do not waste time murmuring amongst yourselves. We will dismiss at 5 and the chess club will depart by train to the venue of the tournament by 5:25. If any of you still wish to attempt to join us, continue your mini-tourney now."


As the time grew close to 5, the chess club members and Maida gathered to discuss the results.

"Now keep in mind, while Miss Shousen said she'd happily take care of the room arrangements, that doesn't mean we can bring everyone," Maida glared.

"Don't worry, I know that. That's why I proposed this in the first place," Okisato nodded.

"I see. In that case, the one who managed to win the mini-tourney amongst their classmates was Gorou-kun

"So does that mean he's the only one that will be coming with us?" Mimoko asked.

"Not completely true. Even before Shousen-san's mom offered to handle the room reservations, I planned to have no more than 3 additional people join us if they showed talent," Okisato nodded.

"Why three?"

"Because that way our team would be 8 people. I know I said large teams can help, but that's only if most of them are good."

"Then how are we supposed to go about choosing the other 2 people?"

"We technically don't need to, however, I do believe there are some students that do deserve to come along. Even though they didn't satisfy the initial criteria of winning the tourney or outright beating any of us, I think they are skilled enough to bring along. The first whom I think Maida-sensei will have no objections to bringing, is Numakawa-san."

"I see, you wish to give him tournament experience. I shall approve of that," Maida nodded.

"Now did anyone else see someone that caught their eye?"

"I believe there were around 4 people that registered for the chess club including Gorou-kun. I don't want there to be hard feelings for choosing one over the other," Mimoko stated.

"There shouldn't be any. They only found out about this tournament today, and it will begin tonight at 7. Besides, tournaments take place on the weekends so they could always go to the next one."

"That is a fair point. How about I quickly inform those 4 about that and see what they say."

"That's not bad thinking. Though in the future, we should consider a club policy to deal with people joining just before a tournament. Maybe something like you have to be with the club for a week or fulfill a criteria before you can compete in tournaments."

"What would the criteria be?"

"Something similar to today, except we'd modify it to that they'd either have to impress both me and you in skill, beat someone at least as strong as Shousen-san, or they already have a WWCF rating. Truth be told, I would prefer to take everyone with us since the tournament would easily show their skills off and give them first-hand experience."

"I understand. Let me go talk with them."

"Not bad, perhaps you should be the vice-president of the club," Maida smiled.

"I vote for Oki-kun to be Vice-paperwork handler!" Iori smiled as she raised her hand.

Yuusuke and Utami however, voted against Okisato.

"Why the descent?"

"I just don't get along with you," Yuusuke glared.

"I- Ahem, I wish to be the one by Mimoko-sama's side," Utami stated.

"I can vote for myself, right?" Okisato asked.

"Yes, though now that there are more club members, they will get to vote as well," Maida stated.

"Tch. Guess this means you'll get the votes," Yuusuke scoffed.

Mimoko then returned and reported her findings. "It turns out, the only one besides Gorou-kun that can go today would be Zenihara-chan."

"In that case it's decided. The three we'll take with us are Numakawa-kun, Gorou-kun, and Zenihara-chan," Okisato nodded.

"First, I will need to have Numakawa-kun formally register with the club, then he can come with us. Now, make sure you're all at the station by 5:20 otherwise we WILL leave without you," Maida glared.

At her home, Kuon happily mumbled in her sleep as she lounged on her couch. The vibrating of her phone, however, roused her from her slumber as she drowsily examined the message she got.

“Ugh, from Hagemi? If it’s another stupid flirt piece- …!?” Kuon’s eyes widened as she read the message before her face began to scowl in annoyance. “‘Found a worthy adversary that could stop me from winning the whole thing’ you say? Only I can beat you!” she fumed as she got up and headed for the door.

Elsewhere, Gyro had a similar reaction as he stared at Hagemi’s declaration. “No, NO! Did she find out about Mimoko Inoue!? No, I can’t let her get a rating or play Hagemi! If she beats her… It’s over!”

The full game:

White: Okisato Tanabe (2434) Black: Mimoko Inoue (unrated)

1. c4 b6

2. Nc3 Bb7

3. e4 e6

4. e5 d6

5. Nf3 dxe5

6. Nxe5 f6

7. Ng4 Bc5

8. Bd3 Qxd3

9. a3 Kf7

10. b4 Bd4

11. h4 Bxg2

12. Rh2 Qf1#

Mario Nakano 64
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