Squares

by klassman

Yesterday we packed up the van and went to a chess tournament.  It was a first — at least for our clan.

Chess is Desmond’s passion.  At least, it is one of them.  As a side note, he selected two pins to wear on his sweater yesterday morning.  He had a round two inch button from the National Archives from the recent celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.  The other, his wings from NASA.

Chess.  History.  Spacecraft.  The nerd gene is strong in this bunch.  We are a boring bunch of squares.

The children were paired up to play three games of chess against others in their same age group.  Desmond played in the K-2 section.  There were some two dozen kids and probably six to eight were in his group.

Word of warning before you go to your first chess tourney: You don’t get to watch.  The spectators don’t spectate so much as offer support — from a distance.  As soon as the kids were ready to start, everyone else was ushered down the hall to a waiting room.  With chess tournaments, unlike play at home, distractions must be kept to a minimum.  Who knew?

The kids would come to the waiting room when their game ended.  After each of the first two rounds, Desmond came walking down the hall with a half smile and his hands jammed into his pockets.  He was on a streak with two games and two wins.  The third game didn’t go his way.  The hands were jammed into the pockets but the smile was gone.  (Fortunately for his opponent, he didn’t bring his light saber.)

He took it fairly well.  To the great delight of his parents, he visited with the other kids, introduced himself and talked about chess.  He congratulated other players on a job well done.

It was hard, very hard when the realization hit him that he would not win a trophy.  They gleamed on the table at the front of the room all afternoon and I’m sure he was as excited about winning as he was about the chance to take home a trophy.  The disappointment was assuaged, just a little, by a trip to the ice cream shop so that his whole family could celebrate his triumphs.  It was a great afternoon and I’m glad his siblings were so supportive and proud.  This morning, while Desmond sat engrossed in the world of Harry Potter and Hogwarts, they all wanted to play chess.  He was called to the kitchen counter to offer advice.

I think he won the biggest trophy of all.  He asked to register for another, larger tournament next weekend.

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