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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Little Chess Nerds

Yesterday was the first Thursday of the month, making it Chess Club Thursday around these parts.  At 1:30 the usual "leaving the house" preparations begin -- 14 socks, 12 shoes, 5 bathroom trips, 2 diaper changes, 3 chess boards, and too many pile into the van while I survey the living room one last time, in peace, to assure I haven't forgotten anything.

We drive the 3 minutes down the road (ah, the conveniences of in-town life! Close to church! Close to McDonald's!) to our church hall. Arriving, unlocking the hall door, sending a big boy to switch on the lights, and the arranging of the long, narrow tables begins.

Soon they shuffle in, mostly boys, mostly quiet, bee-lining for the tables to set up their boards.  Large plastic pieces, roll-up boards, hand-carved Polish wooden bishops--the variety as charming as the smiles exchanged; the games begin with the move of a pawn.

We had 26 children playing the game of kings. No arguments, no bad sports. Competition and strategy at its finest, with kids ranging in age from 4 to 17. It's a rare joy to see an 8 year old defeat a 15 year old! But you will see it here. There's nothing quite like it.

My three oldest sons started playing the game seriously (as taught by their Dad) after their tonsillectomies a couple years ago. After playing game after game with one another ad nauseum, they asked if I knew any other kids who could play.  I immediately sent out a mass email to the homeschool group, inquiring if any children were interested in getting together to play my boys...the response was astonishing:  "Sure! We'd LOVE to join your chess club! When does it meet?"

Say What?

So that's how I came to be the moderator of the Chess Club. And that's how I get to see all these beautiful minds planning a checkmate 5 moves in of kings, indeed.

Maybe someday I will learn to play.

Rule 887: If you see a need, take the lead! (this is the Frontier Girls' motto, as memorized by daughter Josephine).

Rule 102: Hug your inner nerd. Or hug your nerdy children. Nerds are awesome.

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