Sunday, November 11, 2018

Playing chess with youngest grandson.

Originally Posted: 2 October 2018
Updated: 25 Nov 18

Grandpa plays chess with grandson
2 Oct 18. Looking forward to teaching my youngest grandson a game I used to be passionate about more than 65 years ago. None of his older cousins now in their 30s and 40s has managed to beat this old grandpa yet. But I suspect it won't take long before this one will be teaching him (me)!

7 Oct 18. I am waiting for the first game online later this evening. We don't yet know who will make first move, but his dad will have his son choose which piece, black or white, which he will hold in his hands behind his back. If the hand chosen is holding white, grandson will start.

The setup in Los Alamos, NM (Grandpa's board)
Later (same day). Grandson chose white and we began communicating moves over the telephone, each of us living in a different state. (Am deliberately not using his name, place or age at present) This preliminary game turned out to be a good practice run. After several days of back and forth text moves, the game broke down in confusion over who moved what when. Our respective record keeping lists did not agree, so we decided to stop at move #23 on October 12, with no one yet winning. In the meantime we reviewed standard nomenclature, agreed to clearer language, and to play again another day, better equipped to understand each other. I was pleasantly surprised how much he knew and how quickly he learns.

October 12, 2018:  Game 0 (practice) at move #23

22 Oct 18. And then, on October 21, 2018, at move #21 in less than an hour, this grandson beat his grandpa during their very first real game! This was a total shock to me, but also a surprising delight! Who knows what the future will bring?!!

October 21, 2018: Game 1. Grandson's stunning defeat of his grandpa at move #21!!

Grandpa evens score
10 Nov 18. Game 2.
It took a month to arrange the next game in which Grandpa (me) would play white. During the month, grandson's parents suggested the best time for him to play on a regular basis would be early Saturday afternoons. That's how this second game was arranged, which was completed via telephone in one hour and 23 moves

It was not without lessons learned, especially by Grandpa, who had trouble keeping correct track of recording a few moves versus actually moving the pieces accordingly. At move #25, for example, he lost a rook to grandson, having failed to correctly move grandson's piece at the time grandson announced it. It took us a few minutes to review the written moves, which were all correct, but which Grandpa hadn't followed up by moving grandson's piece to the announced spot. This very much surprised Grandpa and he couldn't very well ask to redo the move (not allowed in serious chess). He had to eat crow and lose the piece. Fortunately for Grandpa, he was able to limp along enough to out maneuver grandson for an eventual win. 

Below is a photo of the final position at move #23 in Game 2. 
End of Game 2 from Grandpa's view
Lesson learned for G'pa in Game 2: "Move first, then record!" 

18 Nov 18. Game 3.
End of Game 3 from G'pa view
G'pa was more careful this time and won the game in an hour at move #24, when grandson [GS] resigned. This was a good lesson for GS, who felt devastated at this loss. With the help of his observing father, GS learned he could resign without suffering a humiliating checkmate when losing became inevitable. It was a lesson in gracefully accepting defeat. This is an attitude that all good chess players must learn.

25 Nov 18. Game 4.
End of game 4 from G'Pa view
G'Pa won game 4, but we had more fun this time. It took GS's dad and me to work out a more stable FaceTime audio connection to allow us all to communicate better. Also, this time I softened the rules for GS during these early games, so that we could talk about GS moves that he might want to take back. You can see on the record sheet that moves 10, 11 and 12 needed "readjustment".

Friday, November 2, 2018

Posted: 2 November 2018

As serendipity would have it, at 2:41 PM today (11/2/18), I received a news release describing the best long-term scenario I can imagine for our beleaguered USA, now in a constitutional crisis. Please read and let's discuss it! See PRG.