The chess scene is a bit of a mystery to me. I barely play and until recently I thought the knight was called a horse. I now know that isn't right.
Since my kids started playing, I've learnt a few other things* about it:
Players who want to be good need to practice and then practice some more. In this age of instant gratification, chess is good at teaching perseverance.
Players need to manage their time. Impatience leads to mistakes and taking too long can result in running out of time. There's a time management lesson for all of us in that.
There will be winners and losers. In an age where children get participation certificates for everything, here is a game which really is a competition. Kids will learn to be good sports.
Chess teaches strategy. Players don't win thinking about one move at a time. They need to be aware of their opponent's move and think well ahead. Planning and implementation are important skills for everyone to master.
Chess facilitates meeting new people from different generations and walks of life. Anyone can be a good chess player - rich, poor, autistic,disabled, old or young. Players learn that the world is a diverse place.
Chess gives your memory a workout. I must remember to take up playing one day!
Chess has rules just like sport, work and society. Players need to learn them and play fairly. This leads to trust and respect. We all want that in life.
Players make blunders and mistakes in chess, just like in real life. Understand the mistakes, learn from them and move on. Tomorrow is another day - or the next match is a new game. Chess teaches resilience.
Chess can take you to interesting places. We've travelled to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney for the Australian Chess Championships and have taken the time to do a bit of touristy stuff too.
Bodies and minds perform best when nourished with healthy foods, exercise and rest. Chess may not be a sport - this is up for tremendous debate in my house - but these things are important no matter what you do.
Here are some photos of Oliver from the recent Australian Junior Chess Championships, where he finished 8th out of 76 kids. We are very proud of his achievement.
*My thoughts and reflections alone, and not based on any research or published facts.