By Casey Toner

Full circle, baby.

From the Jack of All Trades to the Jackass of All Trades to the infinite master of wisdom and awesomeness.

The Jack of All Trades rose above and beyond the typical trade — winning an epic battle of the ages.

Set on a rollaway, white and brown checkerboard, I stormed the ranks, breaking out of my typical loser-mode, tearing into the frontlines, forking pieces and checking. Eat it, chess club.

The victim: Freshman hospitality major Jonathan Castillo, a tall male with dark, curly hair and thick black glasses, fought me to the bitter end for nearly two and a half hours. Clearly impressive but not quite epic.

NIU Chess Club President Matthew Okunevich said his longest game, ending frustratingly in a draw, lasted just a little bit longer: five hours and 40 minutes.

Castillo also said some championship matches between grand masters can last for several hours or even days. The longest match ever recorded lasted for about 25 hours, the players taking an hour per move.

We wrapped up several moves in two and a half hours. Castillo countered my every check, broke every strategy and avoided most checks.

At one point, Okunevich said if I wouldn’t have moved my rook at a crucial period, Castillo could have slopped around his bishop and horse, pinning my lonely king up into a corner.

But the pressure, the exact same pressure that drove Bobby Fischer out of genius into paranoia, did not kill me.

After a series of mental, physical and emotional buttslashings at the hands of the NIU Equestrian Club, the NIU Swingers, the NIU Ping-Pong Club and, most drainingly, the NIU Water Polo Club, I felt ready.

I was ready to retake my throne as the King of all Trades. Or at least sum up the courage for one final, capping-the-semester, super-sweet checkmate. Whoo.

But it didn’t happen quite like that, like a super cheesy ending to any of the “Rocky,” films. Triumphant music certainly didn’t blare out from within the Holmes Student Center, Room 506, as I jumped in the air, waving both arms and screaming my imaginary wife’s name.

Even better, I systematically took his pieces, power piece by power piece — later laying waste to his pawns with my rook.

Instead of queening an advancing pawn, I checkmated Castillo with two pieces: a rook and my king. Kind of.

In actuality, Castillo resigned. He had a paper to write. OK, so maybe I didn’t seal the deal quite like I want to think.

Regardless, The Jack won. Boo-yah. And in a column that for so long seemed bent on my destructive failures, it’s nice to know that even occasionally, Charlie Brown can kick a football through the uprights.