My mom died when she was fairly young. Her carnival glass collection, her silver, her jewelry, I have nothing of those things. I think her new husband tossed all the childhood things of mine I was keeping at her place, all my childhood books I’d hoped to pass on to my kids. All I have of her are three gifts she got me; my Orange Teddy, a boxed collection of The Lord of the Rings (which will be my son’s), and this old Othello board.
I played in the chess club at school, but I was not a star player. I had no real desire to memorize all the chess openings and just tried to hide my lack of study with aggressive play, which sometimes worked but usually didn’t.
Othello had just been reinvented earlier in the decade, in Japan in 1971, and was pretty heavily marketed as a quick, fun game. Mom bought it for me for my birthday, I was probably 15 or 16. She probably saw it on the rack in Toy City. I brought it with me to school and it was a hit among my nerdly crowd.
My math teacher explained that Othello was a cousin to a much older game, Go. He himself was something of a pro, he said. He showed me the board and the moves. I didn’t understand it at all. I had no idea what was happening. My Othello experience was useless. I gave it up, but I knew I’d missed an opportunity. Chess and Othello fell by the wayside. In college, backgammon was the game of choice for the gamer crowd.
So, fast forward 35 years, and inspired by an anime, I’m going to try and learn it again. I’m starting from zero and working my way to internet play, where I will be ranked and find out just how much of a noob I am.