Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Chess Fever

The chess bug is spreading through the family like a virus. We had Auntie Kumi visiting us this week and learned that she's taking chess lessons. She's a natural puzzle afficionado (Sudoku, number puzzles, etc.) so it doesn't surprise me that she's started enjoying chess, especially chess puzzles. She gave us a book by Lazlo Polgar called appropriately enough 5334 Problems, Combinations, and Games.

Thanks a lot, Kumi. That's 5334 more things on the To Do List.

Even Grandma Yoko has gotten bit by the bug and has been learning chess so she can play with some of the kids she works with at her job. We even rented Searching for Bobby Fischer which Richie took some interest this time around. (He had seen it before he knew how to play and wandered off to do something else 15 minutes into it).

Right after the movie Richie wanted to play chess. I brought out a chess clock for fun because there are a lot of scenes where the players are dramatically banging the clock after their moves. Richie played some excellent aggressive moves and was banging the pieces down on the table like they were (!!) worthy! I have noticed a definite step up in his strategy lately. He requires fewer prompts and is finding out on his own the effectiveness of bringing the rook down to the opponents 7th or 8th rank, and even more sophisticated, in endgame situations he has been able to keep threats on both sides of the board against a lone King.

He's started inventing some games on his own. He wanted to play Kumi with his side missing bishops and her side missing knights. And last night he wanted to show me a checkmate puzzle so he put down a bunch of pieces around the King until it was checkmate. Then I got the idea to start removing unnecessary pieces so I'd point to one and say "Do you really need this, or is it still checkmate if we get rid of it?." The results were sometimes surprisingly elegant checkmates.

No comments:

Wider Two Column Modification courtesy of The Blogger Guide