Friday, July 23, 2010


Last Friday Jake and I were alone for the afternoon.  His bingo board suggested checkers, but he didn't want to play that.  I told him I would teach him how to play chess ("play" and "teach" being loosely used here) and he could substitute it for checkers.  He thought that sounded great so we pulled out the board and I started to explain the pieces:

The pawn, the castle, the diagonal thingy, the horse, king and queen.  I am nothing if not accurate.

Here's what you should know:  I offered chess because I figured my wits are good enough to play an 8 year old who has never played.  It would be a challenging game, but certainly doable for us both.

Then Mike came up for a break and sat down to watch.

You should also know that Mike really likes chess.  And before long it was, "Jake, can I help you?"

"Jake, can I make a suggestion?"

"Jake, can I show you one quick move?"

And then...

Then I was double-teamed.  And it was totally game on.

I had to actually think.  It was exhausting.

Here was an action shot of me getting killed.

Brutal.  But as we explained to Jake, sometimes you have to sacrifice something for the bigger picture.

Then Mike started playing around with moving Jake's queen and little man was NOT okay with that move.

"But Dad!  She'll get our queen!"
"Jake, there's a strategy..."
"DAD!  We are going to get killed!"

So, I sat back on the couch thinking, "Heck yeah!  Move that queen!" and I plugged my ears and hummed with my eyes shut while Mike explained to Jake the strategy for his move and why they wouldn't lose the queen.

And then I took her out.

Jake was ready to pounce on Mike and all Mike had to say was, "Huh. Yeah...that wasn't such a great move on our part."

Then it was game on all over again and I lost my queen.  But the board didn't look too bad (at least for me).

And I must say...I was starting to feel pretty good.  Mike kept trying to rush me saying, "Some people have to get to work...hurry up."  I gently reminded him that no one invited him to play this game and he was free to leave.

This was a long game.  Did I mention my brain started hurting?

About halfway through the game, Jake wasn't so much playing our game as he was playing with the loser pieces and pretending to blow them up.

Then Mike made this move with his king and said, "Checkmate" and Jake popped up.

I stared.  I took a deep breath.  Then I stomped over to the kitchen and yanked open the dishwasher so I could throw the dishes in the cupboard.

In the meantime Mike was trying not to laugh too hard, but he thought it was hysterical because I was so mad.  And let me clarify.  I wasn't mad because they won (well...not entirely) I was mad because I intended to play an 8 year old.  I didn't intend to play a 36 year old who is infinitely smarter than me.

Then Jake called us back and asked us to explain how this move worked and won the game.  And we sat down to explain it to him and then Mike said, "Actually...I don't think I can make that move because it puts us in 'Check' and I don't think that's allowed."  So, I looked it up and sure enough, it was an illegal move.

Mike smiled and said, "See?  You still have a chance."

But you know what, I was semi-glad the game had been over.  I was seriously tired.  It was a Friday.  I'd just played the game of the year for the past hour.  It was two against one. 

We did start back up though and we got to this point:

All that happened after this was that I moved my king up one square, he moved the castle to match and put me in "Check".  This could have gone on for hours.  We finally acknowledged this, shook hands and agreed to call it a draw.

Honestly, Mike and I play chess maybe twice a year.  Most games end like this.  We have decided to assume that it's because we are such awesome players.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that we know jack about strategy.

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