Poor Loser

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#396: “Poor Loser”
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Romans 8:28

28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Philippians 1:6
6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

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Poor Loser

“Poor Loser” is episode #396 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written by Marshal Younger, and originally aired on March 21, 1998.


Eugene nearly has a nervous breakdown when Bernard Walton keeps beating him in chess. Meanwhile, Heather tries to get the volleyball team to work harder.



Eugene Meltsner brings a chess set to Whit’s End to relieve the boredom of a lazy afternoon, and Bernard challenges him to a game. As the chess game proceeds, Eugene, sure of his superior skill, is boasting to Whit - just as Bernard calls out "Checkmate!" Eugene is shocked. After a night without sleep, Eugene shows up at Bernard's front door to challenge him to a rematch. Bernard reluctantly agrees, but wins again in only 15 minutes. Eugene comes to the next rematch with Bernard armed with a notebook showing Bernard's tendencies, strengths and weaknesses. Connie asks Bernard to purposely lose the game for Eugene's sake, which Bernard won't promise to do.

Meanwhile, Heather’s volleyball team is failing horribly, but Heather tries her best to do something about it. At the next volleyball game, Heather hogs the balls, insisting that the only chance they have to win is for her to hit everything, so the coach benches her. The coach reminds Heather that volleyball is a team sport and she quits. At the gym, Whit explains to Heather that it's not good teamwork to play as though she is alone simply because she is such a good player. He encourages her to be more understanding toward her teammates and allow them to learn from their mistakes. The team wins the game, and Heather is sure it's because she was gone. The other girls convince her to stay, claiming that the extra practices she insisted on made the difference. She needs them as much as they need her. She agrees and joins the team at Whit's End for a post-game party.

The chess game is nearly over when the girls' volleyball team comes in. As Karen tries to demonstrate a shot, the chess pieces get knocked off the board. Eugene panics because he was near winning. Bernard says Eugene won anyway, because he had him cornered. A jubilant Eugene goes off to get some sleep.

This plot section is too short and should be expanded. »

Discussion Questions

  1. Was there anything wrong with Eugene's methods of playing chess?
    • Why or why not?
  2. Why did Bernard enjoy beating Eugene so much?
    • Why was it so important for Eugene to beat Bernard?
  3. Have you ever had a time when you had to be a good sport, even though you didn't feel like it?


Heard in episode

Role Voice Actor
Bernard Walton Dave Madden
Connie Kendall Katie Leigh
Heather Acuff Krista Muscare
John Whittaker Paul Herlinger
Julie Zeeke Tracy Bassett
Karen Unknown
Eugene Meltsner Will Ryan
Volleyball Coach Will Ryan

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Jason Whittaker Eugene Meltsner
Maude Walton Eugene Meltsner


  • The plot of this episode is similar to the episode "Chess Pains" on the TV show Frasier, in which Frasier loses multiple chess games to his father.
  • Eugene mentions famous chess player Karl Ernst Adolf Anderson.


Eugene Meltsner: There are times when I'm convinced this is a game he doesn't know the rules for!
Connie Kendall: Eugene, you just ended a sentence with a preposition!
Eugene Meltsner: Impossible! Prepositions are not words that I end sentences with! Oops.

Bernard Walton: Uh, just a minute, Eugene. Apparently Connie has a crush on me or something.

Eugene Meltsner: Today, Bernard Walton beats me at chess. Tomorrow, the earth will revolve around the sun!
Connie Kendall: The earth does revolve around the sun, Eugene!
Eugene Meltsner: Aghhhhh!!

Bernard Walton: Oh, I see what he's doing.
Connie Kendall: What?
Bernard Walton: He's trying to get me to move my horse—
Eugene Meltsner: Knight.
Bernard Walton: Away from his tower—
Eugene Meltsner: Rook!
Bernard Walton: So that he can get my guy with a pointy head!
Eugene Meltsner: Bishop!! And I'm not quite clear why you think it's to your advantage to verbalize my strategy out loud!

Eugene Meltsner: Wait. Watch this move. Bishop to Rook 3, there! I seriously think he made that move simply to form the letter "M" with his pieces!
Connie Kendall: What!
John Whittaker: It's bedtime, Eugene.

Connie Kendall: Just how important is it to you to beat him today?
Bernard Walton: Meaning?
Connie Kendall: Meaning you have made your point already. You beat him every game. So what's the big deal if you lost one, y'know?
Bernard Walton: Connie! Are you asking me to throw the game?
Connie Kendall: He's an emotional wreck! Please, Bernard?
Bernard Walton: This is good for him!
Connie Kendall: Look at him! He's got his shoes on the wrong feet!

John Whittaker: Have you slept at all?
Connie Kendall: <sniffs> Have you showered?
Eugene Meltsner: I've done both, actually. Although I can't remember when or where...

Eugene Meltsner: Right! I'll see you at noon!
Bernard Walton: Ok. <sigh> This is starting to be fun, I think.

Eugene Meltsner: (panicked) Lets play again.
Bernard Walton: Now I got to go back to work in 20 minutes...
Eugene Meltsner: Just a quick game. Quick game.
Bernard Walton: A quick game of chess?
Eugene Meltsner: We finished that last one off in 15 minutes.

Eugene Meltsner: He's beaten me in six consecutive games.