When I was younger, my foolish ambition is to be “intellectual.” I wanted to pursue all things intelligent.
Chess is an intelligent person’s game. How else do you survive the game unless you don’t make full use of your planning, strategizing and logic powers?
So, considering the intelligence aspects required of chess, it's but natural that this is one intellectual pleasure pursuit that I fail miserably.
My level of comprehension in chess is limited to 1) what move each piece is allowed to do, and 2) the spelling of this game.
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My boys are better than me at this game. Maybe they got their chess skills from their sperm donor.
Last Saturday, 8 year old was playing chess with a 17-year old cousin.
Me babbling in the background: What's the rook for?
“The piece that goes in straight lines,” said 12 year old.
No, I mean what’s the equivalent of the rook’s political power?
If the pawns are the masa and lower level officials, and the king is royalty who just waves and smiles and takes care of diplomatic ties (thus they move only 1 step at the time); and the queen is the prime minister who has all the powers that be (which is why she has all the funky moves), and the bishop is the chahrch and the horse is the armed forces…. Who’s the rook?
“It’s the tower!” volunteered 8 year old.
Tower of what? Tower of power? Ivory Tower? Rapunzel’s Tower? Ah… the aviation tower! They man airplane traffic! (I can hear their eyes rolling in their heads and saying mentally, my old woman is nuts!)
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Then the 8-year old ate/ captured a piece. I was astounded because I CAN’T DO THAT. I can’t “eat” anything in chess. (So I said, maybe that’s why I’m not too hot for chess, cuz I can’t eat anything?)
“CHECK!” exclaimed the 8-year old. His rook and king looked pretty chummy. I looked composed but inside, I was damn proud an 8-year old son of mine can play my frustrated sport.
The cousin made a counter attack. It was head to head. I couldn’t breathe with the suspense.
Silence… except for the sound of neurons zapping.
Then the 8-year old moved his rook DIAGONALLY to cover the king.
Brssshhhht… My balloon of happiness deflated. My fantasy of living out my failed dreams of intelligence through my son halted.
So that’s why he seemed so damn good –
He was bending the rules to protect the king!
(His maniacal laugh rang in the background. He was doing it on purpose to bait his cousin.)
Ahh… I said. Now I know the equivalent of the rook…
It’s the Secretary of Economic Development!*
* This secretary has been mum on a hot corruption scandal involving the President. Latest on him – he was appointed head of Social Security. Titigas ng fes… (rough translation: thick-skinned. But we Filipinos use this expression by referring to facial skin. )
Originally posted 24 July 2008