Sunday, January 11, 2009

What the ...!?

The title of this post refers to a phrase that Richie has become fond of using lately. When he's surprised by something he says "what the ...!?" I'm not sure where he picked this up from but it's always amusing to me when I hear it because he's learned it in this abbreviated form, rather than it's cruder extensions.

Anyhow, it happens to be the thought going through my mind recently in some of our chess sessions, especially since we've started playing blitz.

I suppose its a natural course of things for Richie to surpass me at chess, but I really wasn't expecting him to get close for at least a few years. A few months ago I was constantly throwing games, purposely missing better moves in favor of inferior moves that would lead him to a winning position. Once in awhile, I'd blunder badly and give up a queen or a piece but generally I didn't have much trouble equalizing. I could give him odds of a queen and still win most of the time. But gradually, the blunders were becoming more regular. They started feeling less like my mistakes, and more like situations forced on me by my diminutive opponent. The easy opening advantages became more rare. If I'm down a piece in the endgame, I am forced to concede defeat rather than embarass myself with a futile struggle. Of course I thought this was due to sloppiness on my part. Or maybe it's the fast time control, but today, for the first time, I made a real effort and still lost almost half my games with him! What the ...!? Losing to a 5 year old? You've got to be kidding.
I have to officially revise down my estimated rating. Apparently, I would struggle to win a Primary K-3 open tournament so that probably puts me safely below 1200.

It worries me that I might not have much more to teach him. I guess it will turn out that I might "know" more than him and be able to "explain" more than him, but he'll probably soon be able to "do" it better than me. For example, we recently played a quick game where we removed all except the K, pawns and two knights for him, and the K pawn and two bishops for me. I intended to demonstrate the power of two bishops by opening up the position, but my lesson plan had to be postponed after he non-chalantly forked a piece and a critical pawn then rolled through his pawns... Then I tried to punish him for using a "funny" opening (1. g3) and lost ignominiously after he punched through my overextended center and went up a piece after I miscalculated the exchanges. What the ...!?

So my first real (blitz) defeats have started occurring regularly at age 5 years and 3 months. How much longer do I have before my victories become rarities? I've spoken with other parents who have proudly mentioned that they cannot compete with their children, but I always assumed that this was just because they were complete novices themselves. I mean surely that wouldn't happen to me so soon. I've probably played thousands of games of chess in my lifetime. I'll be able to hold the line until he's 7, right? I don't know what Dee's been feeding the kid over the last 3 months but something fishy is going on here.

This post deserves some video evidence which I will try to provide in awhile.

1 comment:

Auntie Kumi said...

That's it,
I'm officially retiring from chess play. I'll still do the puzzles. Thanks for saving me a bundle in lessons, Koj!

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