About three years ago, once I was roaming in the local library, I found the library would have a class named something like “Chess for Beginners”. So I brought Abe to the class; several kids showed up, along with their parents. The class was very basic, covering how to set the board and how to move each chess piece, it was enough for us, though, as I thought we knew nothing about chess. I remember the first question asked by the instructor something like “Why do you want to play chess?”. The answer was asked to be written on a piece of paper by each player, I thought it was not a bad idea as students would not be embarrassed by their answers. Abe wrote “I want to be a chess master.” I was impressed, I thought to myself “Abe does not know nothing about chess, at least he knows a term.” I knew nothing what is a chess master then.
Around the time of the class, Abe’s mom downloaded some rules about chess from the internet. I also read some of the printouts, so I stared to learn how to play chess. I borrowed a couple of chess books for kids from the library, Abe sometimes READ the books himself. I am impressed again, since even I would not want to spend time on the books full of symbols and diagrams.
Anyway, except several games mainly in the library for next year, Abe spent almost no time on chess. WAIT, there was one chess tournament he attended, organized by the school district, he got his first trophy although he only got 2.5 points out of 5 ( I guessed some kids apparently did not know how to move chess pieces). he was the first place for 1st grade. In the summer followed, he attended one week’s chess camp run by the park district, he had a fun time. But the chess camp was only for camp’s sake, the camp was very close to our home. We registered Abe for camps all summer, would not miss that one with only minute’s walking distance. I knew Abe’s knowledge of rules was better than me. Sometime, he would ask me or mommy to play with him, I needed frequently to ask them about the rules, such as “what is en passant?”
When Abe was in 2nd grade, he went to the same chess tournament, hoping to get another trophy. Before the tournament, we played several games with some even results (Maybe I recalled wrong.) But this time he did not get any. He said to mommy, “Daddy’s chess is not good enough.”…Oops!?… Both my wife and I thought we should let him having better instructions and practicing with stronger opponents.
Last fall, Abe started to play in a local chess club (for kids), that was about one and half an hours’ playing/instructions per week. At winter break, he started playing in the USCF rated scholastic tournaments. Although I could win once in a while, I do not think he asked me to play with him anymore after his first couple of such tournaments, maybe I was not strong enough…”Why bother…”
I borrowed the first two chess books from the library for my self: “chess for Dummies” by James Eade and “A Parent’s Guide to chess” by Dan Heisman. After his first rated tournament, one of his friends came to our home, I heard two sentences by Abe about me, one was “Even my Dad can beat you”, another was “My Dad is reading Chess for Dummies”. Not sure they were scoffs or showoffs.
The journey started, I felt not bad.