In order to keep myself robust, I prefer to take morning walk, wherever I am and generally went out for a five-mile run just after waking up. I ate an apple and sometimes a little piece of chocolate and took off. While on course I often killed the time thinking, since I'd never been able to run comfortably wearing headphones or carrying a radio in my hand. It was on a clear, crisp morning in Reno during the second mile of my run that I had my first brainstorm. I speeded up my pace to hurry back to the room and tell Joe.
He was seated at the round table next to the window, drinking coffee as he studied the pieces on the chessboard he had laid on the table.
"Joe," I said excitedly as I breezed into the room, "I think I came up with something - a chess strategy?"
I was not absolutely sure he was kidding. "Listen, it has to do with roulette. Remember when you said that once the black-chip setup bet starts taking steam, we have to abandon the move until it cools down?"
Joe nodded and mumbled the name of a chess gambit as he moved a white pawn forward to be sacrificed.
He wasn't listening to me. He continued rapidly moving pieces across the board in both directions, then finally said,
"Check," as he moved the white queen to threaten the black king.
"Joe, are you going to listen to me or not?" That was the loudest I had ever raised my voice to him.
"We'll talk about it after our petite partied." He really annoyed me when he spoke
French; it sounded condescending.
I had no choice, so I sat down and took white. We had already played a half-dozen times.
Though I was not a bad chess player, I had managed only one stalemate against Joe in six parties. After he checkmated me, he finally listened to what I had to say.
"Instead of having the claimer come to the table and set the casino up," I began, "we have the claimer buy in for a dark color, taking a seat at the top of the table away from the third section. As soon as he receives his stacks of chips, he mixes three or four black chips into one of the stacks and puts that stack in the rear, out of the dealer's sight. The rest of his stacks will keep that 'mix-up' stack hidden. Then he makes his own bets with his own chips on the third section numbers. The other check-bettor still bets his stack in the third-dozen box to assure the dealer's turn so Duke can do the move. Then, once the move is in, the claimer quickly places his mix-up stack in front of all his other stacks-in plain view of the dealer and begins claiming that he accidentally got one of his black chips mixed up with his roulette chips and it won. He can say something like, 'Oh, my God, I got one of my black chips mixed up and it won!' When the dealer sees the mix-up stack that the claimer just put out front in his view, he'll understand immediately what we want him to think happened. In effect, the black chips mixed up with the roulette chips in that front stack serve as the setup bet, but only after the move goes in." I paused a second to let it all sink into Joe's brain, then said, "what do you think of that for checkmate?'
Joe Classon's eyes widened as the genius of my mix-up claim dawned on him. It was the first time since he had been taught the past posting business that somebody else working with him invented a new claim, and given that I'd only been involved in the operation a few months, it was even more spectacular. It didn't take him more than a few seconds to grasp exactly what the enormous strength of that claim was. The fact that the claimer was claiming that he had made an "honest" mistake, that he never had the intention of betting the hundred-dollar chip, removed the inherent steam that went along with unseen black winning chips on roulette layouts. Hearing this claim would make the bosses think that the claimer was just a lucky idiot whose own stupidity had paid off big. And then seeing that mix up stack in front, the black chips got deliberately misplaced in a stack of roulette chips. That was the real clincher.
How could they not go for it?