As a mother, I am proud to have such an intelligent son. Joseph is in advanced Math, reads far above his grade level and earns straight A's on his report card. Naturally, he needs to exercise his brain with strategy games like chess. He's an only child and most of his friends would rather play video games. When it comes to chess, I'm Joseph's favorite victim.
You know I'm deaf-blind. You are probably thinking, "How can she even play chess?" You'd be surprised at the number of adapted games available these days. The nice part is that they can be played by both people who are blind and those who are sighted.
The board is black and white. The black squares are slightly higher than the white. This makes it easy to feel each square and identify where pieces are located. It also helps players "see" ahead and behind or follow diagonals, so they can properly move their pieces.
How can a person touch and feel the board without making a mess and knocking everything out of place? It's simple. Every space on the board has a small hole in the center. Each chess piece contains a little spike on the bottom. The spikes fit into the holes and keep the pieces secure.
Of course, there has to be a way for blind players to distinguish between the white and black pieces. This is done by shape. The white pieces all have flat, rough tops. The black are round and smooth. The black knights have one ear. The white knight has none. The black king has what feels like a cross on top. The white king is missing the upper portion of the "cross." Even when the pieces are mixed up all over the board, it is possible to find which you want by touch alone.
So we began... Joseph reminded me to remember my opponent's weakness. This was code for, "I know you have trouble with pieces that move diagonal."
It's the truth. Although it is possible to feel the board in all directions, I never pick up on the diagonals. I hate bishops and the queen. The knights are hard for me to catch, too. Joseph is always ready to use that against me.
Joseph had a new strategy this time. I didn't have a clue what he was doing. I decided to go after his knights and bishops. It looked like I had him running scared. Ironically, I was doing major damage with my bishops and knights. I even got his queen.
He only had a few pawns and his king left. The game would be mine... or not.
Joseph got one of his pawns across. I saw it coming, but couldn't get there in time. He got his queen back. My good pieces were all on the other side of the board. Within a few moves, he had me trapped. Check mate.
I had a headache. I swear my brain cells were protesting. Joseph said, "That was fun. Let's play again!"
I reminded him that he still needed to pack for his trip and take a shower. It was 8:00 PM. "We have plenty of time," Joe said.
Once again, I quickly managed to get rid of his queen, bishops and knights. I had his king on the run with my queen and rook. I was trying to trap him. He managed to avoid it and stay out of range of my bishops. He was so careful about every move he made.
At 9:45, the game finally ended. It happened again. He got his pawn across, regained his queen and that was the end. In the battle of the brains, the 11-year-old is king.