Saturday, 18 August 2012

Are they 'too young' to play chess?

Image from here
Nugget and Doo Dah like a game of chess. They were taught by a friend, helped along by a "Chess for Beginners" book. It is a favourite rainy day activity for them to lock horns over the black and white board.

We were at the library last week, exchanging books and idling away some time. Nugget spotted the over-sized chess board in the corner. His eyes lit up, he grabbed Doo Dah by the hand and they headed over to it for a game.

There was a little old woman sitting in a chair by the board. She was reading her latest find and looked to have settled in for the afternoon.

As I approached the boys at the chess board, arms laden with children's books, the lady was busily telling the boys that the chess board was for adults. "You're too young to play", she proclaimed.

Nugget's face dropped, but he stated "We play all the time. We know the rules. We play properly".

She wasn't convinced. "No", she said. "This board is for grown-ups".

I jumped in, reassuring her that I would supervise their game. The board was safe in their hands.

She humphed, looked on for a couple of turns, and then retreated to another chair in the library.

Nugget whipped Doo Dah's butt, but both boys had a fantastic time playing "big people"chess with great big chess pieces.

Did we encounter a case of ageism? Or just patch protection? Do you or yours enjoy a game of chess?


Photographer Mum said...

I love a game of chess when I get the chance and no I don't think the boys are "too young" to play. It is a game of strategy that requires thinking and planning - skills that they will use throughout their lives. Good on you for telling the little old woman you'd supervise, I reckon she may be an "ageist".

Mama of 2 boys said...

Ah old people, gotta love them and their opinions. I'm not being the slightest bit disrespectful in saying that either, it's just I so often encounter these kinds of comments/reactions to children from them, on certain matters. Like my Dad always used to say "children should be seen and not heard". That one still annoys me, don't think I've ever heard anything quite so ridiculous. Ever.
Chess is a great game and it's wonderful that your boys have taken to it with such passion. Good for the mind and strategising. I can see them taking on the best in those world chess competitions one day. Put that little old woman in her place that would.

Naturally Carol said...

I am sure there is always a self appointed protector of every library. They are always the ones to shush everyone who utters a sound and hog the photocopying machine as well!

joeh said...

You encountered an anoying miserable busybody. You should have gone over and wispered in her ear, "Please read your book and mind your business, I am quite capable of watching my children, up until now I have managed quite well without your assistance...oh...the butler did it!"

I loved chess as a kid, learned at about age 8.

Cranky old man

Seana Smith said...

Some little old ladies are just too narrow-minded. We won't be like that, will we? Hope not. Certainly not too young to play chess. My wee boy likes chess, but I don't and my heart sinks every time I see him with the chess board - swift pass on to Mr12.

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

Oh, she was just jealous her grandkids aren't as proficient. ;)

I feel like we get weird looks most times when we turn away children's menus and crayons at restaurants. Some people just *expect* the wee ones to all act the same.

Good for your little guys!!!

River said...

I sort of learned to play, which means I know how the pieces can move, but strategies and specific games mean nothing to me. It's too serious and I don't enjoy it at all.

Miss Pink said...

I can't play chess, so no my kids do not know but I don't see why anyone would have a problem with children who do know how to play it! I think that's really clever!

Emily said...

Weird! Both, I'd say! Glad that they played anyway and enjoyed it. x

Nick said...

Great story on how you get to learn how to play chess and become interested in it. I got to play chess when I was younger and I find it really challenging. Parents should encourage their kids to learn the art of chess for it does not only promote fun but also induce mental thinking skills.

You guys might want to read more references relating to chess by visiting

Tricia said...

Never too young.

Little eco has recently started playing after spotting a giant chess game at a vinyard. I'm not interested in the game - but her and daddy Eco love it.

Good luck with your little wander this weekend :-)

Quill and Ink Handmade said...

Um, totally amazing that your small ones can play chess - how good is that?
I'm sure that Nugget and Doo Dah would have played beautifully, and perhaps showed that grump that you're never too young... :)


Erin said...

Thought of you when I found this photo

Tat said...

Any tips on how you taught them? My son is starting to get obsessed with chess, but he struggles with the fact that he always loses and I struggle to find a way to let him win sometimes and still teach him a good game (not make random moves just for the sake of letting him win).

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