The Games Peter Played

The first time I realized that Peter liked to play games was in Port Townsend, where he had moved back from Mexico to live with the family, was when he first showed me a Mahjhong game with fancy tablets and a board, and I think he actually introduced me to the game of Go there, although I don’t remember playing, so if he had a board there, I think he did not know how to play yet.

Where he learned the game of Go, I’m not sure, although he taught a lot of people the rules over the years, as have I. Also, I am hazy about when we first started to play. I know it prior to 1967, because I still have the original stones I bought that year in Seattle, but it was probably after 1964, since we did not play nor have a board in New York City, 1964.

When we did take our beginning steps, neither of us knew as much we did in later years, having only an inkling about strategies and concentrating solely on tactics. However, Peter always managed to win.

Nevertheless, we learned, we got better, and when either of us learned, we would attempt to share the knowledge, knowing it would only make for a much better game. Peter during this period was MUCH better at Go than I was, but given handicap stones, we would have even games and played by the hour when we could, through the years.

In the mid-1980’s, I was newly divorced and living in Seattle and had the opportunity to live at the Seattle Go Dojo, then just off I-5 and 47th in the U District. Peter had lived and frequented this area many years before and even I had lived not that far away, so it seemed like old home week after being away for years. For example, the Peter’s old hangout in the U District was “The Blue Moon” on 45th, which was a block away.

During and after the year that I lived at the Dojo, I learned so much about Go that Peter was amazed whenever we played. We had reversed roles, wherein I could repay him in some small measure for the tremendous gift he had given me in opening me up to the world of Go. Life was good.

Years later — Peter had moved into my rental house in Snohomish for a few months, prior to making the decision on where to return to get his teaching certificate in Bellingham. I had a couple PCs, (old by today’s standards), a 386 and a 486 (Blazing fast!). One was set up for Peter’s use downstairs, and one morning he didn’t get up until really late, and I asked him why.

He told me that he had started playing “Poker” in Windows and didn’t stop all night. That used to come with Windows or some specialty pack and I used to play it, too. It’s very easy to start losing and wind up “owing” the system thousands of dollars… I don’t remember what he said he owed (or won), but I was surprised at this electronic game keeping Peter’s attention for that many hours.

I will say one more thing. Toward the end of his life, he REALLY liked to play one and only one game on the PC, which is “Minesweeper”. If you’ve played this, and you’re really good, you can win during the countdown “clock”, which starts at 000 and counts to 999. Your score is then the seconds remaining when you get the puzzle clicked in correctly. It comes with Windows, so try it sometime (on Expert setting), and if you win, note the score.

Most people who have played this game and get pretty good at it, know they might get a score of 500 to 900, thus beating the clock, but certainly no records. Now I don’t know what the record is on the default setting of expert, but I think Peter must have come close. He was very excited and proud, really, in a way, that he had achieved a score of (about) 350, I don’t remember the exact score. My personal best, BTW, is in the mid-400’s, but normally win, when I win, with more like 500-600.

There’s a lot more about Peter and games, would you please share your favorite story with us about Peter playing a game?

Join the Conversation