The Art of Chess

When I was little my dad taught me things. I am an only child, so my dad has no choice but to teach everything he knows, to me.

One of the things that he taught me was how to play chess.

My dad is really good at chess. I mean, like really really good. I’m not saying this because he is my father. I say this because he’s just plain good. I never see anybody beats him at chess. And I saw him beat computer in different chess games, so he is pretty good. He would’ve been a chess grandmaster in another universe.

So, when I was about 4 or 5, he started to teach me the chess piece moves. I remember clearly, at that time, I understood very quickly and rather easily about how all pieces move: Pawn, Rook, Knight, Bishop, and King–except for the Queen. For me, the most difficult-to-understand chess piece was the Queen. My dad told me that the Queen can move diagonally, vertically, or horizontally–practically anyhow she wants. But what I understood was that the Queen can move anywhere, so I thought that I can move her anywhere I want, even though she’s not in the same line diagonally, vertically, or horizontally. Yeah, I was 4 or 5, so it’s not that bad.

Anyway. Eventually, I understand how the Queen moves.

Checkmate

Then I started playing with (against) my dad. Of course, the only times I won were when my dad let me won. Well, I am never going to be as good as he is at chess, so I guess that’s why I don’t pursue this hobby further. But still, I learned a thing or two playing chess.

My dad told me that in order to win in chess, I have to be able to think many steps ahead. He said that every move that I make must have meaning because it will affect my next moves, so I must be efficient and effective. Because if not so, my opponent will take advantage and the last thing I want to do is to let my opponent having one step ahead.

He also taught me that sometimes a sacrifice is needed in order to achieve victory. I remember he let me took his Queen, the most valuable chess piece, and he still won. I know I wasn’t so good, so it’s easy for him to beat me even though he lost his Queen. But still, he showed me that an intentional sacrifice can be worth it. These things that he told, lingers on me even though I am never good at the game.

“Sometimes a sacrifice

is needed in order to

achieve victory.”

– Dad

Growing up, I realized that maybe who I am and how I think right now, is a result of me learning to play chess with my dad. I often find myself planning my whole day, my whole week, and even my life in a time span of 5 years. All is because I want my move to be meaningful. I want everything that I do to have impact. I want to be able to think ahead, so that I will be prepared. I want to be convinced that even though I sacrifice a thing or two, it will pay off eventually.

This is how I’ve been living my life for all this time.

I know that doing things this way can be exhausting and stressful. So, I learn to take a break and live in the moment, sometimes. But then I get back to the way I do things best: the way my dad taught me to play chess.

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