Watching New Skills Emerge Through Chess

I have never understood the game of chess and thought it was really complicated. Of course, it can be – going up to the international level. But you don’t have to be at that level to play the game.

Obviously, everyone has to start somewhere.

Today my son was at a playdate and the four-year-old he was playing with suggested they play chess. Now we had not introduced the game to Johnathan. But he plays on an equal basis with my husband on a number of different Wii games and when we play snakes and ladders with him, he is never given any chance to not play properly.

Learning to Play Chess

Anyway, they wanted to play in the sitting room with us. My friend positioned herself so that she could help Johnathan who didn’t even know what each piece stood for or the moves they could make. She also said it would be amusing to hear her 4-year-old teach someone else as she had no idea if he could do it or not!

The four-year-old actually did a comparatively great job of explaining it to my son. To my surprise, the beginning level wasn’t as bad as I remembered. And I understood the basics of how the game was played as explained by her son.

My friend Becky was not needed as much as we had thought. Even though Johnathan is intelligent, he has never attempted anything like this. I had no idea if he would manage to or not.

To my surprise, within a very few minutes, he had actually learnt all the pieces and their moves.

Long before the game was over, he was already talking about strategy and plotting how he was going to win!

To me, this was quite amazing that he managed so well. I managed to get the moves in my head. But as far as strategy went, other than the initial move in front of me, planning long-range ones expended more thought than I was ready to use this morning.

The wonderful thing was that I discovered the versatility of my son’s brain. And just how quickly he can learn things and develop strategies that leave me gasping. I had no idea how he was going to cope but he did better even than my expectations.

I learnt that a game I had closed my mind to for many years, could be played at a basic level which I understood.

Yes, there are international players, but in the beginning, you don’t need to make it complicated. Even a four-year-old can not only comprehend it but explain it to another child.

So next time you close your mind to something because you think it too complicated, take a second look and see if it really is. This can happen in so many areas but you can understand the basics at least even if not the more complex things. And in case you were wondering, Johnathan actually managed to bring the game to a draw.


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