Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Giant Chess Game: Fun with Favorite Kids

Chess is like yoga for the mind. It helps the brain stretch and develop. If there's one thing those dear Russian folk have taught me, it's that. And so on a recent weekend with a beloved niece and nephews, I challenged them to a big game of chess. Have you ever seen giant chess?

Heather and Drew ponder their opening moves.

Move those pieces around. I was coaching from the side. I figure it's best to let them do it while I offer advise. And record the event for posterity.

Drew won the match! Congratulations Drew! Next time I'll show him how to tweak his game a bit.

Well, actually I don't know how to play chess. So I just made up some of that. However, let the record show that over the years, I have played some vigorous games of UNO with these kids and I do recall some nearly vicious matches of Go Fish! But all that was in a previous century. A previous millennium, in fact.

Another giant chess game took place recently in Cuba. Russian chess champion, Antatoly Karpov, was there and he no doubt offered some tips to the 8,000 who participated in the 4,000 simultaneous matches.

Well, back to the good old USA and the North Carolina Botanical Gardens where this chess game is located. The day after the chess game above, Graham wanted to play. And he challenged me to a game. As fate would have it, someone else was on site and needing an opponent. (Whew!)

Graham, right, and his mid-game moves.

Thinking, thinking about those mid-game moves. I did continue to offer advise from the sides. Would you please hold still so I can get this shot? Or turn around so your face isn't in the shadow. That sort of thing. Not that it helped much. . .

In the end Graham trounced the guy. Looked like a stalemate to me. And then Graham said Checkmate, which reduced his opponent to tears. Not really of course, but they did have a good game. Congratulations Graham!

So where did you learn to play chess?
I asked.

I learned from the best. I learned from my dad.

His dad, my brother plays chess? That's news to me!

But it's not news that his dad, my brother David can ride unicycle.

Kuddos to dads who play games with their kids. Can't help but wonder though what unicycling might do for the mind.

1 comment:

Jeanette M said...

What a fun story! I haven't played chess in a LONG time...but I did have a rousing game or two or six of UNO with a charming seven-year-old boy last year in Samara. He's learning English...I'm struggling with Russian. But hey - all you need to know is 0-9 and four colors. We had a blast! Great learning tool and a way to interact on a sunny day at the dacha.