I like playing chess.
I do not get to play chess that often.
I’m not great at chess, I think the problem is that chess is a slow game and many people do not want to devote the time to play, let alone learn.
Which is funny because I teach how to play chess more often than I play. People want to learn to play or at least start out wanting to learn to play. I’m a pretty easy teacher, I want you to want to play, thus I do not go all Full Metal Jacket Drill Sergeant on you. I teach, step-by-step how to play and play well.
However, after a few lessons people move on. Move onto faster games with an easier learning curve. All is not lost though, meet my latest pupil…our girl. She likes wearing silly hats that come in bags of “food” and rolling her eyes A LOT. So try to imagine my surprise when she asked if I would teach her chess…using my glass chess set. Ah, she wants to see the chess set, touch it, and then she will be done.
And that was true, up to a point. She was very excited to see the chess set unpacked and set up. She was disappointed that the set did not look like the one on the box. The difference is we were playing on a brown floor and the photo is on a red floor…stupid box photo. Once the board was set up we went over the pieces.
Pleasant surprise, she knew the names of the pawn, rookie-her name, king, queen, horseguy, and I don’t know. Off to a better start than I expected. She knew that the pawn moved one space at a time, attacked diagonally, and on the first turn could move two spaces. And that was the extent of her knowledge of chess.
Lesson one, how the pieces move.
“A rook move…”
“You mean rookie?”
“What? Yes, rookie moves in straight lines.”
“And the horseguy?”
“The easiest way is to count two space in a line and then one space over. Watch.”
“Can we play now?”
“Sure. Learn by doing.”
Check was a difficult concept. She thought she could use any piece to knock out the piece threatening her king. Sort of super piece with one purpose, save the king. It was cute, at first. Slowly, but surely we played through her first game of chess. Her brother wants me to point out that they have played chess before. I want to point out to all of you, that his version of chess only bears a resemblance to chess because he uses chess pieces. And while I am a fan of alternative chess games, such as Nightmare Chess, his version was…off.
By the end of our game our girl knew how to move all of the pieces and how to capture with most of them. The horseguy and bishop (formerly “I don’t know”) were tougher for her. The horseguy I understand. The bishop I did not until she pointed out that because of the brown floor the tiles looked similar, thus she could not tell the difference. Next time on a white or red background. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, she wants to play again tomorrow.