Oct 262006

Just received this request from my almost-5-year-old, who is now asking me to promise him. I am refusing.

My dad taught me to play chess when I was about Nathan’s age. He then proceeded to slaughter me every time we played for the next five years. I remember it upsetting me to the point of tears one evening, and I ran upstairs, as kids do. I overheard my mother ask “why don’t you let him win once in a while?” And my dad said “if I let him win, he won’t learn anything, and more importantly, he’ll know I did it.”

I finally beat him one night when I was 10. I spent the next four or five hours on the ceiling.

I don’t know that I’ll take my father’s exact approach with Nathan. I may play a little more “ok, is there a better move you could make?” than my dad did. But I do know I’ll never throw one over the board, pretending it was straight up. My dad was definitely right about that.

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