The Right Coast

March 24, 2005
More Joy of Chess
By Tom Smith

Pejmanesque has an interesting chess story here. To which I can add one from yesterday, when once again the Local Catholic Academy Chess Club, coached by me, met. Helping out was my Contracts student, Chris, who seems to be a strong player, certainly compared to me anyway, and also, I noticed, a nice way with kids. Quite a bit nicer than I am, I noticed. I made this observation to my lovely wife Jeanne. "He hasn't had to put up with them as long as you have." A good point. Though I love doing it of course. Though weird things happen. This is quite apart from the questions such as "Can the King move two spaces to get out of check?" When it was time to clean up yesterday, I told everyone to put away their own pieces, both to encourage responsibility and to make my life easier. I noticed everyone had put away their pieces except my son, Patrick. "Patrick!" I said in my habitually pleasant tone, "put away your pieces, NOW!"
"I can't," he said.
"What do you mean you can't. Just stop standing there and put them away! We need to get going!"
"I can't touch my pieces," he insisted. I was getting annoyed. Patrick is an extremely clever child and has gotten something of a reputation in the family unit for being very canny at avoiding chores.
"You can't touch them? Why not?!" I managed to say without shouting.
"Because Jason licked them!"
We have had many other infractions at the chess club, including fights, throwing of pieces, use of inappropriate language and merciless goading of persons losing games, but this is the first time we have had somebody lick chess pieces so as to inhibit another person from touching them. Apparently Patrick's friends have discovered that he will refuse to touch, let alone eat, anything that has somebody else's spit on it, a not entirely irrational disposition to have. I sighed and put them away myself. If I remember, I will wipe them down latter with a wipey.

BTW I am finding this series pretty good for me, the aspiring but basicly untalented chess player, of moderate to no ability.