Chess is just child's play!Posted November 15 2011
At a recent chess tournament, The Web Guy had the privilege of playing some of the youngest competitors he has faced in his short career as a tournament player. The five round swiss tournament saw him battle with only two adults, while his other three opponents were all under the age of ten. After attaining two draws with each of the adults, The Web Guy faced a tiny boy who could barely see the chessboard from his low vantage point.
A four hour struggle ensued (yes, the tiny boy managed to sit quietly, playing chess for that length of time) and an outstretched hand was extended to The Web Guy. A draw was offered. Time trouble, a headache, and the intimidation of such a small opponent caused The Web Guy to accept the half point. There was only one problem. This was made clear to The Web Guy a week after the tournament - his army was poised to take out the little chap and he was only two moves away from an amazing win. Chess blindness had taken hold! The tiny boy, seeing everything, cleverly offered a draw in an obvious losing position. Now, that's one smart kid!
The second game played was against a slightly older opponent. The young boy obviously wanted to win every game in the tournament, and came out fighting like Bobby Fisher. Aggressive play manoeuvred all of his pieces onto The Web Guy's side of the board and it looked all but over. However, you have to remember that at this level of chess (under 1600), everybody makes mistakes. The boy's aggression was his downfall and The Web Guy managed to squeeze the position to his favour and eventually boa-constrict a win from his young aggressor. If you've never seen a chess player cry, trust me, it's not a pretty site. The Web Guy was beside himself for the rest of the evening, having caused such a reaction in his opponent.
After recovering from the emotion of the win from the previous day, The Web Guy was back in action. This time, his game was against a young girl who couldn't have been more than nine years old. Dreading this game and playing white, The Web Guy valiantly played the safe King's Indian Attack opening. Things were going well, until the young lady suddenly won a Knight for a Pawn and received a strong advantage. A basic counting mistake had cost The Web Guy dearly. Blaming the pizza and beer from the previous evening, all he could do was play for a draw. Two more painful hours passed and piece by piece his army fell. The final resignation came after an amazing display of Queen prowess from a promoted Pawn. Thirty years of age separated the players and when the game ended, the young girl danced away happy, refreshed, and kicking her heels. The Web Guy was left feeling depressed and destitute.
Chess is such an amazing game! It can bring young and old together as equals, where physical and athletic limitations are irrelevant, and where only the inner workings of the human mind go toward creating a unique struggle every game!
We shall be playing a lot of chess this holiday season. Join us. Get your chess sets out, switch off the TV and game console, and play a game with your kids.
You never know, they might actually love it!