Chapter 45:

Maestro Xiao Lin

En Passant Grandmaster

In the mountains of China, a large man with a pigtail and mustache smirked as he stared down a well-dressed American man.

"My patience has vanished. Never have I ever been so irritated by someone supposedly good at chess," Peter Morphy snarled.

"How bout you hand over your valuables now then? It would save us both the trouble when you lose the bout," the large man sneered as he cracked his knuckles.

"If you want to beat me, then do it at the chess board," Peter snarled as he summoned a makeshift chess board via his WWCF card.

"Wait is that the deathmatch thingy?"

"No, this is merely a standard feature that every WWCF member can do, though you do need to spend secret points to unlock it, but it is worth the price."

"Guess you are legit then. However, before you can challenge the maestro, you must beat me, her strongest disciple, in a kung-fu chess match. And I’m sure you know by know, but I’m not referring to the variation of chess where you can move pieces simultaneously."

"Another one? Very well, we'll start with kung-fu."

"Giving up you're advantage!? Well Master Xiao Lin will have it easy then."

As soon as the first round began, Peter immediately knocked the man out with a single punch. "I said my patience has vanished, now where is the maestro? You'd damn well better not tell me there's more secret puzzle cafes strewn about this nation, I've been trekking through mountains for days on end!"

"Dear Peter, patience is a strong virtue, especially for a chess player," a woman's voice rang out.

Peter turned to see a beautiful woman with green hair clad in a jade dress and kung-fu shoes standing on a rock in the middle of a lake.

"And are you the maestro?" Peter snarled.

"Yes, my name is Xiao Lin, and I am the secret chess maestro of China. I rank 5th among the 7, both skill-wise, and the order in which you've found us."

"And the order I'll beat you. Now, I believe I have enough points, so let's begin the match. I have a tournament I need to be at and I will NOT take a bye."

"So impatient. My trial is kung-fu chess."

"All the other maestros simply played a game of chess. Sure they implemented things like requiring you to play a certain color or had fast time controls, but they were still pure chess games at the end of the day."

"I believe a strong mind should also be accompanied by a strong body. Now, we shall duel along the stones. Falling into the water will result in instant loss. Though make it to the central island, and you will get to play me for 5 minutes before we finish things off with kung-fu."

"And your rating?"

"3020," Xiao Lin smiled as a black WWCF card appeared before her.

"The card of the maestros. Very well, you'd better not disappoint me. I'm in a bad mood," Peter glared as he immediately darted for the island, hopping over the stones.

Xiao Lin attempted to take him out with multiple attacks, but Peter managed to avoid disqualification by the skin of his teeth and made it to the island.

"Well, you nearly hit the water, but now as promised, no more than 5 minutes of nothing but chess. You may go first, honored challenger," Xiao Lin bowed as she landed gracefully while Peter quickly moved his pawn to e4. "Oh by the way, when the 5 minutes are up, the game ends regardless of how much time we have left or close we are to winning," Xiao Lin snickered as she moved her pawn to e6.

"Don't you dare run down the clock for your own benefit," Peter snarled as he moved his pawn to d4.

"I would not," Xiao Lin snickered as she slowly moved her queen to h4.

"I will not have a chess match stripped from me due to your underhanded tactics!" Peter roared as he quickly moved his knight to c3.

"I said 5 minutes, did I not? Well, our play clocks are each 5 minutes, therefore, I only need to outlast the game timer to avoid losing. Then, the bout will be settled over kung-fu," Xiao Lin mused as she slowly moved her bishop to b4.

"I came to play chess. You are a chess maestro are you NOT!? Then play the game proper!" Peter roared as he moved his bishop to d3.

"Oh but I am," Xiao Lin mused as she slowly moved her knight to c6.

"If the game gets good, will you play till the end?" Peter calmly asked as he moved his knight to c3.

"Nope, I said 5 minutes overall, and should I so choose to let my clock run down, I would still have time left, and not be disqualified. In fact, we will only be able to play chess for 3 more minutes, then we settle the bout in one-on-one kung-fu. There won't be any more rounds after that," Xiao Lin mused as she slowly moved her queen to f6.


Xiao Lin began to scowl. "You truly scorn patience. Patience is a-"


"Very well, you shall incur my wrath then," Xiao Lin scowled as she moved her pawn to e5, just as the clock went down to 2 and a half minutes.

Peter immediately castled on his king's side as Xiao Lin now began moving just as fast as him and captured the pawn at d4 with her e-pawn. He immediately moved his knight to d5 prompting Xiao Lin to move her queen to d8. Peter then captured the pawn at d4 with his knight as Xiao Lin moved her bishop to f8.

Rather than trading knights, Peter moved his bishop to f4 prompting Xiao Lin to counter by moving her bishop to d6. He immediately captured the bishop at d6 with his bishop, as Xiao Lin captured said bishop with her c-pawn. Peter then moved his queen to g4, forcing Xiao Lin to move her pawn to g6. Then, the decisive move happened; Peter moved his knight to f5.

"An impatient fool makes a harsh destructive choice that sets them on the path of ruin," Xiao Lin thought as she captured the knight with her g-pawn.

Peter, however, was undeterred as he moved his queen to g7.

Xiao Lin's eyes widened in shock. "No, I was a fool! ... I can only do my best to outlast him, and the clock," she thought as she moved her queen to e7.

Peter didn't hesitate in capturing the queen at e7 with his knight, as Xiao Lin immediately captured said knight with her c-knight.

"Don't you DARE stall," Peter glared as he captured the rook at h8 with his queen.

"I intend to, but not by slowing my physical movements," Xiao Lin snickered as she moved her king to c7.

Peter quickly moved his a-rook to e1 as Xiao Lin moved her pawn to b5.

"She's stalling, but she's through. I'll move faster than a second to force her to move," Peter thought as he captured the pawn at b5 with his bishop.

Xiao Lin moved her king to b6, prompting Peter to move his pawn to a4. She then smirked and slid her king to c5. Peter, however, was through with her games and moved his queen to c3.

"My, only a minute left. Just because I'm in check doesn't mean we'll go past 5 minutes," Xiao Lin sneered as she moved her king to b6.

"Then I'll mate you before time's up!" Peter yelled as he moved his pawn to a5.

"Doo dee doo dee doo," Xiao Lin hummed as she slowly moved her king to b7. "45 seconds," she sang as Peter moved his pawn to a6.

Xiao Lin slowly began walking her fingers along the board and moved the king to b6. Peter then slammed his queen down on b4, eliciting a sigh from Xiao Lin.

“So impatient. Why do you seek to void a kung-fu face off. Do you fear your imminent defeat at my hands, or should I say feet, since I am known for my kicks, oh 20 seconds left-"


Xiao Lin scowled and moved her king to c7. "I do hope you know that you SHOULD have better respect for an esteemed woman like myself," she scoffed as Peter moved his queen to a5.

"Less talk, move! Mate in 6!"

"Fine, 6 moves, IF they are within the time limit!" Xiao Lin sneered as she moved her king to b8.

Peter immediately moved his queen to d8 in under a half-second as Xiao Lin followed suit and moved her knight to f6.

As the match entered its final 10 seconds, Peter quickly captured the knight at e7 with his rook, sending it flying. Xiao Lin scowled and gently moved her pawn to d5 while Peter once again sent a piece flying as he captured the pawn at d7 with his bishop.

"Be more gentle, rudeness is a negative," Xiao Lin glared as she gently captured the bishop at d7 with her knight.

Peter didn't care, he was already well past his boiling point and for the third time, sent a piece flying; the knight he captured at d7 with his rook. "Mate in 1, now move," he snarled as the timer ticked down to 3 seconds.

Xiao Lin smirked and began to slowly move her hand towards a pawn and moved it to d4, just as the clock ticked down to the final second.

"Looks like time's-"

"CHECKMATE!" Peter roared as he moved his rook to b7 stopping the overall play clock with only a millisecond left.

Xiao Lin scowled. "Well, it seems the unvirtuous Impatience has won. You managed to best me within 5 minutes despite my stalling. Very well, your victory shall stand. Regrettably, this means you shall receive my badge as I acknowledge that you have truly and legally bested me, though in a rather rude manner. You also gain 1,000 points and the right to rematch me either in kung-fu chess, or normal chess. Now vacate the premises."

"WITH PLEASURE! You were by far the worst maestro I've faced!"

"And why is that?"

"Your challenges prioritize physical fighting over chess!"

"A maestro has every right to choose their own chess themed battle. Did the other's you face not have similar challenges?"

"As I mentioned before, the challenges were simple things like blitz time control, playing as a certain color, or trying not to go over 100 moves, but that was what made the challenge so thrilling. And not once did the others try to half-ass the chess, they were playing with every intention to beat me. YOU merely sought to annoy me."

"I beg your pardon? My skills at chess are far above yours as are the physical capabilities of my body-"

"You truly are a disgrace. Perhaps my expectations were raised after I fought the maestro of Japan."

Xiao Lin went quiet and began to bite her lip in frustration.

"Maestro Himitsu truly is a worthy rival, yet she claims she’s ‘second only to one’. Therefore, I assume one of the maestros I have yet to face bested her, since she mentioned I’m only the 2nd person to ever beat her."

"I see. Now go. You have soured my mood by bringing up that woman."

"Very well."

As soon as Peter left, Xiao Lin let loose her pent up anger on a training dummy. "What a rude and impatient fellow. Though I guess he is lucky that he’s fast. Had he not mated me in time, I surely would have killed him in the kung-fu match. After all, I never hold back against strong opponents. But him bringing up that woman truly angers me more. I hate her. I HATE her!"

As Xiao Lin finished destroying her training dummy, her disciple appeared alongside a woman and a cloaked figure.

“Master, they request an audience with you.”

Xiao Lin's eyes narrowed as she stared at the woman. The woman had red and orange hair and was clad in white low-top sneakers and a fiery black kimono adorned with sakura petal embroidery. Her face was also painted white and her eyebrows were styled to look like fireballs.

"Why hello Xiao Lin, it is I, Maestro Himitsu of Japan. Care for a quick game of just chess?" the woman gawked as she flashed her pointy fangs.

Upon hearing Himitsu's request, Xiao Lin immediately zeroed in on the hooded figure. "So what is the nature of the visit?" she glared as the hooded figure smiled.

The full game:

White: Peter Morphy (2880) Black: Maestro Xiao Lin (3020)

1. e4 e6

2. d4 Qh4

3. Nc3 Bb4

4. Bd3 Nc6

5. Nf3 Qf6

6. Be3 e5

7. O-O exd4

8. Nd5 Qd8

9. Nxd4 Bf8

10. Bf4 Bd6

11. Bxd6 cxd6

12. Qg4 g6

13. Nf5 gxf5

14. Qg7 Qe7

15. Nxe7 Ncxe7

16. exf5 Kd8

17. Qxh8 Kc7

18. Rae1 b5

19. Bxb5 Kb6

20. a4 Kc5

21. Qc3+ Kb6

22. a5+ Kb7

23. a6+ Kb6

24. Qb4 Kc7

25. Qa5+ Kb8

26. Qd8 Nf6

27. Rxe7 d5

28. Bxd7 Nxd7

29. Rxd7 d4

30. Rb7#

Mario Nakano 64
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