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Monday, September 27, 2010

Dad's chess girl

Alexandra Kosteniuk's Chess News & Trivia (c) 2010

Hello Everyone,

We found this real great short 'musings' piece at as part of their Joe Aaron Column.

Isn't it sweet to see a father doting on his daughter? Therefore, this article makes for some very cute reading. Of course it's the chess in it that caught our fancy... and love! Enjoy.

Also, if you're a dad (or mom) sharing chess with your child, do tell us all about it.

She laughs, well, except in chess games
by Joe Aaron

She sits across the dining table from me now, this daughter of mine, pondering the advisability of swapping her bishop for my knight in the amateurish game of chess that we are playing.

Her head is bowed in concentration, her hair falls over to frame her face, her eyes dart about the board to guard against some foul trick that I am trying to draw her into, for she knows from experience that I am totally ruthless.

I watch her secretly, and study her face, and her slender hands, and the horseshoe of freckles across her nose, and I am bemused that she is 16. Not so long ago she held my hand to cross the street.

And all things considered, I am glad she is my daughter.

She wears her dresses much too short, of course, after the curious fashion of the day, and she tends to lengthen into infinity any story that she happens to tell, but I forgive her readily enough, for she has many off-setting assets.

She likes to read, and it is my belief, based entirely on personal prejudice, that anybody who can lose herself within the pages of a book — who can read throughout the day and half the night, in rapt concentration — must have at least a grain of worth to her.

And I look on with considerably envy as she reads for the first time books that I myself first read years ago, wishing I had that delightful experience yet before me.

Books like "Of Mice and Men" and "In Cold Blood" and "1984" and "Catcher in the Rye" and "Riders of the Purple Sage" and the inspired works of Will Cuppy and Robert Benchley and P.G. Wodehouse and James Thurber.

She sits in the big recliner beside the window, sprawled so the failing light of evening falls over her shoulder, and I come into the room and snap on the light, then give her a stern parental dissertation on the perils of eyestrain.

But she didn't even realize she was straining her eyes, so deep into the unfolding story was she — and I am understanding, since I read "War and Peace" almost entirely by flashlight, after lights-out each night in my Army barracks, such a long, long time ago.

With her love of reading has come a love of writing — short pieces of fiction that are quite good, if you'll forgive a tiresome, old father's saying so — and this makes me very proud.

Accompanying her gift of reading and writing has come a gift of compassion, a concern for every mistreated or homeless thing that ever lived. And every time she returns to California after our summer visits, she returns dead broke, having spent her few dollars to buy gifts for the children with whom she babysits.

But the thing that, perhaps, will one day save her sanity in this often sad and cockeyed world is her gift of laughter.

She looks out through whimsical eyes and has a refreshing ability to laugh not only at the world but herself as well. And so much does her laughter mean to me that I often act the clown with her just to get her started.

You seldom hear real gut-laughter anymore.

But when she starts to tell me a story, I cringe because I know it won't end until the day after tomorrow.

One day she got into the car after visiting her friend Tina.

"I bought you a present," she said, and while I drove with one hand I opened the package with the other.

It was a fine chess set, but it wasn't my birthday.

"How come you bought me a gift?" I asked.

"Because," she said, "I love you."

I drove for a long ways without saying anything.

Then I reached over and hit her lightly on the shoulder.

But when we got home I used the new set to beat her without mercy, because love isn't everything.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
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  • At September 27, 2010 at 10:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    It's quite some time ago now, but my Daughter who is now 30 was less than 10, I used to play chess almost nightly against an "Chess Challanger 9" computer, at the time it was a pretty good one. My Daughter Daph would watch me, and wanted to "Help" so I let her move the White Pieces, (I almost always play Black against a computer) and she loved it, the computer was calling the shots, but SHE was beating Dad.

    Well in time I tried to teach her to move for herself, but by then she figured out that she had a much better chance of winning with the computers help, and never learned the game; but I still remember her serious little face watching the lights, moving the pieces, and beating her Dad. Thanks for the memory, Blessings, BB.

  • At September 28, 2010 at 9:57 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    nice cute story i like the end, jason gordon, maryland


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