09 March 2013


The Chess Game by John Singer Sargent, c. 1907

I decided that I wanted to learn how to play chess one summer when I was a teenager, inspired by the thrilling games of wizard chess played in Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone. I got a cheap chess set at Target and started learning how to play with my sister Maureen, who either also wanted to learn or was at least willing to humor me. We set up the board on the living room floor and started learning the ins and outs of how the pieces move, and puzzled over the set's confusing instructions for the knight's movement until my sister figured out how it was supposed to go. Then we fumbled along in a very amateurish game which finally ended when I cornered her king with my own--I doubt that we followed all of the rules correctly, or that I actually succeeded in a legitimate checkmate.

We played chess on and off throughout the summer, and even brought the set with us to keep us from being bored at family barbeques. We no longer have a chess set, but after writing this post I've become somewhat nostalgic for our summer chess club. Maureen has a very nice decorative checkerboard . . . perhaps we should acquire some chess pieces and revive our games!

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