My whole family is superb at chess. They have been since their grubby little hands could pick up the pieces and set them back down. The only exception to this rule has been me. Family and friends have attempted at various times to instruct me in the hitherto insurmountable rules of the game, but it has always been at a bad time when things just seemed to go in one ear and out the other.
My second grade class is full of chess tournament participants. At the beginning of the year when they’d ask me to verify rules of the game when there was a dispute I had to sadly shake my head and shrug my shoulders. But then one of the students started begging me to play chess with her, and not taking “but I don’t know how” for an answer. A second grader taught me how to play chess. And for the first time, it’s starting to stick.
In the past month I’ve played about 12-15 games of chess. I won all of them and was super excited about how well I was learning… then I remembered how unwarranted my glee was – I was playing against 7 and 8 year olds. Granted, some of them have been to national chess championships, but they’re still little babies. Somehow I still let it all go to my head.
Last weekend my brother was around, and he has been playing chess for at least ten years. I stupidly mentioned that I’d finally learned, and asked if he wanted to play. Less than a half hour later he had my king cornered on the board in a checkmate. It took the wind out of my sails. My big head deflated and my ego returned to normal proportions.
I’ve still been playing with the kids in my class. I figure playing a lot will eventually get me to a place where I can hold my own with people a little older… maybe 9 or 10?