Checkmate in Four (Jerz’s Literacy Weblog)
My seven-year-old son whipped my butt in chess last night.
He’s beaten me before… once when I was paying attention to fending off an attack deep in my territory, and he suddenly popped his rook out from behind a row of pawns, pinning down my king.
I’m embarrassed to say that he did the exact same move on me yesterday, so he actually beat me twice in the same day. In my defense I don’t play as aggressively as I could. He often doesn’t protect his queen when he launches into an attack mode, and although he knows rooks, bishops and knights are worth more than pawns, he often makes bad sacrifices. So at some point I will focus only on blocking his attacks, keeping the game going as long as possible, unless he makes an obvious mistake.
If he plays well, I will let him get a pawn to my end of the board, and once he’s gotten an extra queen I’ll shift into fighting for my life. The two times he used his rook to pin down my king I was surprised, but since I had deliberately held back at an earlier stage, I didn’t think much of it.
But last night, I moved the king’s pawn forward and didn’t guard it or cover the gap with another piece, so that he was able to get his bishop off to one side and take out the pawn with his queen. There I was, slack-jawed.
“I got that from a book,” he chirped. “But you moved your knights differently.”
My boy, who will dance in front of the mirror for fifteen minutes with one sock on if I don’t remind him to put the other one on, made eye contact, leaned very close, and whispered, “Daddy, you should really watch the whole board.”
The other day, after reading a few blog entries I’ve recently posted about Peter, my wife said, “Peter’s getting old enough that he might want some privacy. I wonder if he knows that you blog his whole life.”
“Not his whole life,” I mumbled.
Peter chimed in: “He doesn’t know the future!”