Thursday, August 29, 2013

Winning as a Father but Losing to My Son in Chess

Last night my nine-year old son Jason beat me in chess.  I didn’t know if I should be embarrassed or proud.  Actually I was more proud than embarrassed since he had come close to beating me a couple of times before if not for some lapses on his part and some luck on mine.  Still I was hoping to stave off defeat for another couple of years or at least until he reached double figures.

Then it happened.   

Jason said, “Check,” and I thought, no problem, I’ll just move my king here and he said, “You can’t do that!”  I’m thinking, why not, and then I saw the problem.  He had a bishop waiting on that same slant.  I was flummoxed.  He had me.

“I won!  I won!”

“Not so fast,” I said, sure that I would find another way out, some clever move on my part that had served me well over the years, but lo and behold, no clever move materialized.  There was not a thing I could do and finally had to admit that he won.  Jason beat me.  I mean, I had this game so won!  I had been putting his king in check a half a dozen times already and was within two moves of clinching the deal, but then his queen came out of nowhere and he said. “Check.”  Then it became “Checkmate” and our whole chess relationship changed. 
Instead of me being the mentor advising him against moves that he shouldn’t make lest he wanted to lose an important piece of his arsenal, and how he needs to find a better balance between offense and defense, I was now on the down slide, where pretty soon he’ll be trouncing me right and left while looking at his smart phone and talking to a couple of girlfriends in between my moves. 

“Have you finally moved, Dad?”

“Wait, let me get my walker.”

I can see it all now, more gloating from my son at the dinner table aided and abetted by his mother, who naturally took photos of my personal agony of defeat, and his six-year old younger brother Justin, who suddenly saw hope in his chess-playing future of trouncing me too.

Jason is now talking about trouncing me in badminton once my sore shoulder heals, which I’m hoping at this point it never does.  Maybe I should just stick with writing.  
                                                 #  #  #

*By the way, I picked up that chess set in Singapore in April 1980 when I was still working with Kinko’s in the US, after spending two months backpacking from Japan to Singapore.  I had just left Boulder, Colorado and was about to take over a new store in Madison, Wisconsin.  The time off for the trip was part of the deal.  So was a company car.  OK, they were des­perate, but I ended up being a regional manager in charge of 11 stores in three states before catching the writing bug and moving to Malaysia.  So that chess set has some miles on it.
-Don't Monkey with the Monkeys!

-Hospital Adventure for My Two Boys

        —Borneo Expat Writer

Here are links to some of my author-to-author interviews of first novelists:

Ivy Ngeow author of Cry of the Flying Rhino, winner of the 2016 Proverse Prize.

Golda Mowe author of Iban Dream and Iban Journey.

Preeta Samarasan author of Evening is the Whole Day

Chuah Guat Eng,  author of Echoes of Silence and Days of Change. 


Beheaded on Road to Nationhood: Sarawak Reclaimed—Part I 

No comments: