Sunday, December 2, 2007

Disturbing Event

This is my first post using email to

We were at a chess tournament this weekend and I witnessed a very disturbing thing.  To be honest I don't know if it's fair of me to write about it since I don't even know the people involved.  But anyway, I feel compelled to mention it nevertheless.

I remember watching Searching for Bobby Fischer and thinking that the part about chess parents being worse than the kids was satirical.  Well, this weekend I saw that there's more than an element of truth it.  We were allowed into the tournament hall to quietly observe since our kids were not in the tournament.  We had gone just to meet some other chess parents and maybe set up some play-dates for our kids and give them a chance to play some friendly games.  Inside the tournament hall I was watching one boy who was kindergarden-aged and seemed a likely candidate for a playmate for Richie.  He was having a truly grand time playing a game with another boy.  He was clearly quite talented and was up in his game a substantial amount of material.  Towards the end he was up at least 2 rooks and a queen.  I think he didn't really want the game to end, though, so as he played a move he would suggest to his opponent moves for him, even going so far as to allow him to take back moves to prolong the match.  I stepped away for awhile and when I looked in again, it appears that they had both eliminated all the remaining pieces, ending the match in a draw.  His father, who had seen how far ahead he was earlier, was not pleased.  What began as a stern lecture, devolved as the boy started to cry.  This brings up the difficulty that chess parents may have in becoming too invested in the results of their children achieve.

It was a humbling experience, and a reminder for me that there are much more important things than playing chess or winning tournaments.

On the bright side, Richie and Alyssa both seemed to enjoy themselves.  They played several games with older kids.  I saw a toughness in Alyssa that I haven't seen before.  She fought on to the end in a lost game but never stopped trying--it made me quite proud to see.   And Richie made me happy as well--at the end of the day he told me, "I love to play chess!"

No comments:

Wider Two Column Modification courtesy of The Blogger Guide