he slid his queen’s pawn forward two spaces and nodded when i mirrored the move. he moved his c-pawn up two, offering the sacrifice. i declined the Queen’s Gambit and moved my king’s pawn forward a space. i decided to spring my queen from the back row on my sixth move, which seemed to surprise The Man. he frowned, and scratched the stubble along his upper lip with his thumbnail. i chose that move because i thought it was a good one, but also because it might appear to be a bad one. neither of us yet had any sense of our opponent’s skill, and if he believed i was a poor player, i could lure him into committing a critical mistake. he murmured something in German and moved his kingside knight. a reasonable response, but not the one i had feared. if he had taken my pawn, he would have kept the initiative, forcing me to respond to his aggression. instead he played defensively, and i took advantage by moving my bishop into his territory.