All the Right Moves
|Title:||All the Right Moves|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
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It was published in the print zine First Time #31.
"While a cadet, Kirk begins a series of chess games with an unknown opponent when they both use the same small alcove in the library."
"It was too days later when Kirk again spent hours studying in his little haven, and as always, before leaving he looked at the gorgeous old chess set. He reached to return the pawn to its proper place and froze. Someone has countered my move!"
Reactions and Reviews
I particularly liked the first half of this, concerning the gradual buildup with the chess game to a meeting between young Kirk and Spock. Though the reader knew who the mysterious chess partner was. the narrative still had an element of mystery and intrigue, leaving speculation as to what the two players were going to do once together. The part in the grove had some nice feelings, especially with them simply lying around together, as well as some catchy phrases, such as "Each separate hair responded to that first tentative touch of fingertips" and Spock's thought that, "Obviously, an exploding penis should be handled with the same care as a fully charged laser." I thought the story should have ended at the bottom of page 53. The remaining few pages didn't add anything, though they did leave me wondering what T'Pring would think of Spock deciding to spend Pon Farr with Kirk; and why it wasn't considered 'unfaithful' of Kirk to have sex with women, but would have been unfaithful of him to have sex with other men. Illogical. 
Chess in library nook at Academy with unknown opponent, then exchanging notes, such a sweet tension. And the meeting and starting to spend time together was quite nice... Good characterizations. The embrace in the woods, the first kiss, were charming and innocent. Sixteen years later was a perfect, sweet reunion. Spock's wonderful innuendoes brings it all back to Kirk. The "I love you" was very powerful. Spock laughing was great. 
This story of Kirk and Spock finding each other as cadets really touched me. I was reminded of the old song “Young Love, First Love” and while I can’t recall the words, it said there is something very special about a first love and Gena conveys it here beautifully. Innocence is captured well, in a way that lets the reader really feel they’ve been given a true and rare glimpse into the duo’s innocent youth. Both of them portrayed as inexperienced, yet not quite naive, was good, as were their hesitant actions toward one another. 
I've got a thing for Kirk-as-cadet stories, so I've always enjoyed this one. It's a pleasant little story, not high drama, but nice enough to hold your interest. Kirk uses a nook in the Academy libraryto study in, and to hide from the upper classmen. One day he makes a move on the chess set set up there, and on his next visit, discovers that it's been answered. Eventually, after playing several games, he and Spock, his mystery opponent, meet.
I'm not sure if I see Kirk as this emotional naive, even at seventeen, but it's not out of the realm of possibility, so I can go with it when he's written that way. Now that I think about it, a lot of the stories about Kirk as a cadet tend to do that. He's unsure of himself, and it's Spock who keeps things in perspective, taking care that Kirk realizes that their relationship can only be temporary. Spock is older, about twenty-four, and only at the Academy until his posting to his new ship comes through.
Neither seem to be very interested in females, and when they become lovers, neither seem upset about being attracted to another man. I liked that. When Spock's orders finally come through, they part.Of course, years later they meet again as Kirk becomes captain of the Enterprise. They decide to rebuild their friendship first, and only after a couple of months do they finally become lovers again. As adults, I think their characterization is a little off, but it's such a small part of the story that I can overlook it.