When your kids learn chess … and you can’t

When your kids learn chess ... and you can’t {Heather's Handmade Life}

When our six-year-old neighbour came over last week with a chessboard under his arm, I was gobsmacked.

“You … you know how to play chess?!” I asked, incredulously.

“Our kids know how to play checkers,” I thought. “He must be using the set to play checkers.”

“Yup,” he replied, quietly setting up the board on our kitchen table.

Our kids, five and seven, gathered around the board as he started explaining the rules. I watched, too, still in shock at this six-year-old chess champ.

“Kings can only move one space, any way,” he told them, seriously. “Queens can move any way, as much as you want.”

“Wait, they don’t just each move one square at a time?” I butted in. “Like in checkers?”

“No. Pawns move one, except on their first turn they can move two. But they only attack that way,” he continued, swiping his finger in a diagonal motion.

I was dumbfounded — with the emphasis on “dumb.” I’d known chess had cute little pieces in different shapes, unlike regular old checkers, but I hadn’t known they each had their own set of rules about moving around.

They played a practice game while he continued to explain the rules. He couldn’t remember the names of some of the pieces so they called the rooks “castles” and the knights “horses.” (I only figured out the proper names because I’m an adult with a phone and can Google like nobody’s business.) The fact that he was clearly a whiz at chess, but too young to remember the terminology, made the whole thing even cuter …

Continue reading in my weekly parenting column, The Mom Scene … 

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