Saturday, April 5, 2014

Chess match: Maggie vs. Huxley

Friday, I arrive at Maggie's after-school care to be greeted by the usual disappointed "Aww (it's time to go already?)." This time she is in the middle of a chess game. We aren't in a hurry so I pull up a tiny chair to watch the future grandmasters.

It's clear that Huxley is much more experienced, reciting the finer points of pawn movement and promotion. The game draws several "experts." They spout out "one move to check!" and speak of fair trades and how many points they each had. Chess has points?!?

After a while I have flashbacks of the last time I played chess, as Huxley picks off Maggie's pieces with ease.
It was our honeymoon in Fiji. Brian was really, really into chess, but to coerce make it fair for his new bride, he would play without a rook or bishop and knight, or sometimes even his queen. In that fateful last game, I was ahead and felt like I had a shot at winning for the first time ever. Then, slowly, my pieces began to disappear and I was unable to help them. After the game, I marched to the bathroom and screamed at the top of my lungs. The soap in the shower was not spared my high-velocity wrath. Brian, my dear, sweet husband (except for his chess brutalities), fresh from our fairytale wedding, was mortified. We decided not to play chess any more.  
Seeing that same fate (okay, maybe not quite as bad) awaiting my daughter, I decide to step in and "help." I advise her to move her bishop to a spot. She trusts my advice and I say "Check." Both kids look at me strangely, incredulously. "That's not check." Still confident, I try to show them how it was indeed check. "You can only check the *king*." The piece I advised my daughter to "check" was his queen. Oops. Maggie's bishop is gone and I decide to keep my mouth shut.

Pretty soon, Huxley's dad arrives. Thankfully, he is willing to indulge their game and able to give knowledgable advice to both kids.

Maggie manages to survive and whittles Huxley down to his king and a few pawns. The two six-year-olds play a game of chase around the board. Huxley manages to take Maggie's last pawn in the process. At that point, Huxley's Dad informs them that once a player is down to one piece, the other player has 15 moves to checkmate or the game ends in a stalemate. Is that even a thing or is he just trying to end the game? 

Stalemate it is. As we walk to the car, Maggie is bashful. She wishes she could have won, has admiration for how good Huxley is, but proud of how many pieces she captured--a much better response to her game than her Mom's soap throwing.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Let It Go!

I'm sure this is not a unique scene right now. But, I can't help but share a Kaleia version.