I was discussing chess with a coworker the other day and telling him how I taught each of my kids to play chess & all of them- even mr 9 can beat me at it already. I had the same thing happen with my ex- although I expected that- he thinks 4 moves in advance about everything– which is part of the reason I worry so about him calling or showing up unexpectedly.
So in speaking about this with D (who comforted me by claiming to suck at chess too) I remembered one time I did beat my father at chess- my father started teaching me chess when I was about 3 or 4 years old & was beating me at the game (& Scrabble & Monopoly & multiple card games) from then on. He would sometimes give me extra things- like Boardwalk & Park Place at the beginning of a Monopoly game – or double money and he would still always win. My mother claims to this day that he cheated at all games – she just can’t seem to detail how.
So one day when I was 12 my father had been out jogging (I got my weight from him- when I was 8 he started jogging & went from being somewhere around 240 to 165 pounds – where he stayed the rest of his life- he always maintained that if I’d just run I’d be able to eat anything I wanted- I can’t run though- my boobs are too big) he would always sit in the kitchen & have a beer & then go take a shower. He agreed to my wheedling to play a game of Chess after he finished his shower. Finished his beer & went to take his shower.
While he was showering I set the game up on the kitchen table. My mother was in her rocking chair there in the kitchen with me- reading a book (As always) And then there was a knock at the door. It was a friend of my fathers who was on his way back from somewhere & just stopped by. He sat down had a cup of coffee with my mother & looked over the chess board. It turned out- though none of us knew it- that this friend Ray I’ll call him- had been a very good – professional I think- chess player.
So as a joke on my father he taught me a very quick & easy trap to put my father in on the chess board- with which I could beat my father in about 5 moves! As I mentioned before- my mother was of the opinion that my father cheated so was compliant in not saying anything & sat back to watch my father get beaten! When my father came back downstairs he tried to bow out of the chess game saying since Ray was there it was rude to play a game- Ray insisted we go ahead & play & my father acquiesced saying only 1 game though & that he’d make it quick. It was quick alright- but not because of him!
Ray sat at the table between us & watched. I know I did poorly in acting as if nothing was going on- but my mother & Ray kept completely straight faces & I think Ray being there unexpectedly had my father distracted enough that he didn’t pay attention to my state of high excitement. I beat him using Ray’s trick & he was mad! Really mad until Ray & my mother started laughing & explained the joke. My father loved a joke as much as he loved winning & he did see the humor in it. (He saw it less when about 6 months later I used the same trick again & beat him a second time because he’d forgotten about it- I was told in no uncertain terms not to try it again if I wanted to play chess with him)
Funny though- how competitive he was & how I am not at all competitive- the reverse actually- I’d rather let someone who really cares about the game – whatever it may be- win rather than beat them badly. That’s one reason Chrissie & I like to play games like Monopoly- Scrabble & Rummy together – because we’re usually pretty evenly matched in most games & so often tie or draw when we play. We also both are more about playing & having fun than we are about winning which makes it nice.