I learned to play chess as a small girl. I learned from my father. I was no more than 8 when we first started playing. He would start with a handicap by giving me his queen. Other than that, I perceived no additional consideration. Over time, I could easily beat his handicapped battalion. Then we began playing evenly matched. It was not long before I could beat him. My favorite piece, other than my Queen was the Rook. A queen and a rook could down a king.

Diagram showing the starting positions of the chess pieces on the chess board.

Chess requires vision and forethought. To see 2, 5 or 10 plays ahead of your opponent lends itself to a victory, often unforeseen. They were always the sweetest victories. My father would be slightly distracted watching football, yet confident his little kid couldn’t best him. We would sit in the living room, me cross legged on the alpaca rug. I watched the board intently. I also watched my father’s face as he watched the TV and gave the board a cursory glance. He forgot to take me seriously. I waited for him to misstep, losing a bishop or a knight. The minor players sidelined as I recalculated.

The first time I captured his queen and ran his king around the board was true victory. To watch his exasperated face was almost painful; I felt guilty. He had not anticipated such competition in his little girl. He forgot he had trained me to THINK and PLAN and ANTICIPATE the odds. He taught me well.

I shall teach my sons chess. Cameron is already a very good player. Evan is just now learning to play. Stratgey and focus are traits worthy of study. I won’t watch TV while I play with them though…..I still like winning. No mercy.

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