I'll bet most of us have choked at one time or another. I'll spare you some
of the details -- in fact the details of the game are only approximations
based on a fuzzy recollection, but I assure you, the nuts and bolts of the
position aren't the issue. The choke part of the story is painfully
accurate. Bear with me...
Perhaps my biggest choke of all was, strangely, against a bot. I was
playing mloner a couple years ago, and it was horrendously late at night. I
was WAY past tired, in that zombie-like state that won't let you type
"quit" but won't let you effectively use more than 2% of your brain either.
It was late enough that most Americans, even in the western time zones,
were doing what I should have been doing: sleeping. So as was usually the
case, mloner had been kicking my butt, but I'd been coming back, though on
this final game things weren't going so well and my only hope was to go
into a back game. If memory serves correctly, I didn't do too well at that
either, and it deteriorated to the point where I was on the bar during
mloner's bearoff, hoping for a shot. With a hit, I do recall that I was a
healthy favorite to win the match. So I watched. And waited.
Why does one choke against a bot? Well, since mloner was the top player on
FIBS at the time, it attracted a lot of attention. At this hour, it seemed
that the Europeans were all awake and alert. One by one, my match was
drawing watchers. I'd sometimes check to see who they were, and they were
generally 1800+ German players. Now, at the time, I was around 1500 (not
the mighty 1600 player I am now ;-) and the mere presence of an 1800 player
made me VERY self conscious of my game. And I didn't have just ONE of them
watching, I was starting to collect them like grocery store coupons. A more
focused player would have ignored all that, but I was doing the "whois"
command far more than I was concentrating on the game.
So, back to the game. mloner's starting to bear off, the tension is
building, and mloner gets a roll that it uses to clear the 6 point, but it
gives me a blot to hit on the ace point! If I can only roll a 1...
All eyes are on me. I roll a 6 1!!! YES! The crowd no doubt was excited
that this lowly 1500 player was about to defeat the mighty mloner!!!
Hooray for the underdog!!!
So what do I do? I come off the bar with the 6 and run, not hitting the
blot I'd been so eagerly awaiting. My mind was somewhere else, but what
brought me back to FIBS reality was noticing a quick flurry of "so-and-so
stops watching you" messages. I wondered if I'd passed gas or something!
Why did everyone leave suddenly? Then I saw. All of a sudden that queasy
sick feeling came over me... I had finally been handed my roll, and I
didn't even use it. All I could think about on my way to bed was how much
all those German 1800 players must have been shaking their head at that
idiot KevinB. Why was such a stupid player occupying mloner's time...
Oh well, I probably will never make it to Germany anyway, and if I do, I'll
go under an assumed name...