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Pawns in a Game of Chess

Updated on May 31, 2009

My first encounter with Harry Kayser left me with quite an impression. Even before I went into his office to meet him, I had already heard all the horror stories about this formidable man and formidable he was indeed. Harry Kayser was a big man in every way. He was a prominent figure in the company with a substantial physique and a booming voice that could leave you trembling right down to your little toe.

He was quite curious about my background and had apparently been quite eager to meet me ever since he had heard that I had joined the company. As a non-practicing dentist, I supposed it created quite a stir of interest among the locals who find such a concept almost unthinkable. Any apprehension that had built up in anticipation of my first encounter with him disappeared fairly rapidly as it became apparent that he held me in high regard.

As the brief meeting with him stretched into a two hour long discussion, I felt like a lab rat in a maze; all my reactions were recorded down by those sagacious eyes. Although I found myself losing the trepidation I had first entered the room with, I was starting to feel like a fraud because it seemed like his respect and admiration of me was entirely misplaced. He envisaged me as a rising star, a worthy protégé whom, with the right tutelage, was capable of reaching my full potential.

Beguiled by his eulogy to me, I am sure my head must have swelled to twice its size by the time I left his room. The only thing that bound my feet to the ground was the realization that I now had a reputation to live up to and I had not the faintest notion as to how I was going to sustain it. Little had I realized that I was a pawn in a larger game of chess, singled out as the one intended to reach the eighth square and be crowned queen - not his queen, of course, for he was the coach that stood on the sidelines and I was the boxer fighting in the ring.

Whenever I think I am beginning to understand Harry Kayser, I discover something further about him that makes me realize the depth in the complexity behind his character. My path to the eighth square had been blocked by another pawn, but Mr Kayser was biding his time. When it was right, he would mobilize a knight or a bishop to clear a path he would create for me. His check has failed twice, but after the last event in Singapore, I do wonder if he has finally found the moves in his game to reach his checkmate.

I feel I learn the most about Harry whenever I watch him performing his masterpieces. But sometimes I, too, get caught up in the rhapsody of his music that I miss the cunningly veiled intent and meaning behind each movement. Take, for instance, the dinner with Cowen Thomson... The intricacy of the music woven by Mr Kayser that night would've put Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 to shame. He was a master pianist dancing those cigar-like fingers of his ever so daintily through the sonata in pianissimo then adroitly lifting the movement into forte for the grand finale. It was only through the private aside to me, that I snapped back to my senses and realize the music was not intended for my own listening pleasure, but that I was to pick up my own instrument and weave my accompaniment into his melody.

In many ways, I am in awe of this man and the style with which he adeptly deals with the psychology of human beings. The intricacy of thought behind every word and action of his amazes me, for each and every one has significance - a reason for being said or done. Even so, there are many things about this man that makes me wary of him. I am a cat, curious to play the game to see the culmination and yet, prudence cautions me against my inquisitiveness because even a cat has a limit to the number of lives it can squander.


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