A Day At The Races

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Newmarket

Halloo Sir R-----! Pray come join me and partake of a glass of this rather excellent potation!

Might I again tempt you with a wager?

Splendid!

I have in mind a game that always reminds me of my victory upon the turf at Newmarket. Ordinarily I would not participate in a public sporting event such as this since I am at heart a modest man and derive no pleasure in demonstrating my substantial superiority over my fellows.
On this occasion, however, I had been asked to ride by the Empress of Russia herself and could not honourably have refused. Finding herself in some temporary pecuniary difficulty she had wagered her jewellery upon a gelding from her own stable and felt, with ample justification I might add, that my being his jockey would greatly improve her chances.
My steed seemed in good condition as we cantered to the starting line but, as soon as the starter dropped his flag, he stumbled and fell. As my fellow jockeys raced down the track I examined his leg and came to the conclusion that it had been deliberately injured; presumably by a bookmaker fearful of losses resulting from my inevitable victory.
Naturally I could not ride the injured animal, but nor could I entertain failing the Empress. I therefore took the beast upon my shoulders and started off at a sprint. It took fully half the circuit before I had caught up with the pack and another quarter before I had taken the lead, although in my defence I had not yet lunched.
That my victory was celebrated in fine style hardly bears telling. Rather, let us commence our game!

Here, I have placed a knight upon the lower left hand square of this chessboard for you and another upon the lower right for me. At each turn I shall move mine four squares away from yours around the perimeter of the board and you shall likewise move yours towards mine, albeit by a number of squares determined by the roll of a die.
The game will cost you one cent to play and if my knight remains ahead of yours until it returns to the bottom row of the board then I shall have the game and you shall have naught. If, however, you catch or pass it before I do so the chase shall end and you shall receive a bounty of forty one cents for every square that I should be from my goal!

When I described the rules of this game to that damnable student acquaintance of mine, he started tiresomely wittering on about his condition once more and about some convocation I can only suppose he is planning to attend. What interest he supposes a noble such as I might have in either the health or the calendar of a wretch such as he is quite beyond my comprehension.

Now take another draught and think upon your chances!


Based upon an article I wrote for ACCU's CVu magazine.

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