Havana and Checkers

I read Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene on Friday. It was an enjoyable book for the day’s transit rides and a quiet Friday evening. I picked this book up from the library because Greene is on my list of people who published before 1970 that it might be interesting to try in my year of reading (more) older books. One of the scenes that I particularly enjoyed in OMIH is an account of a game of checkers (or draughts) in which the pieces used are miniature bottles of whiskey played against miniature bottles of bourbon. If a player captures a piece, they have to drink the bottle. This means as you capture more pieces (as winning players tend to do) you get drunker, and thus your ability to strategize fails. The purpose of the game in the book is to make a character who is good at checkers pass out.

Checkers used to be a big game with national champions and everything. Not so much these days. But I think the version described in OMIH could be a good pub checkers variant. The game might make a come-back!


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