My brother Rafael (RIP) taught me how to play chess when I was just about six years old.
I hadn’t played in a lifetime, but someone close asked me if I could teach him, and so I did.
I explained the basics, how to place the pieces on the board and the movements of each one. I emphasized to him that the game consists of ensuring that the opponent’s King has no possible escape.
Recently, this person told me that he was ready for a game.
We sat face to face. He chose the white ones and of course, I was that confident, I had no problem with him coming out first.
The battle began.
In my desire to educate him, I began to offer him my comments.
- Let’s see, remember that, in each move of the opponent, you have to evaluate which pieces he is threatening you and what the intention is.
He listened attentively without saying a word.
- You have to make space for the bishop. You don’t want to take the Queen out prematurely.
From time to time, I heard a faint: Umhaa…
- If you know you’re going to have to backtrack, it’s best not to spend a turn on it.
- You have to try to leave space for the Towers so that they can support each other, because that is how they are powerful.
I was amazed at my opponent’s attention span.
Then suddenly, in the middle of my speech, I heard:
- Checkmate, Nana.
- What? – I said.
Indeed, my King had no escape.
My seven-year-old grandson Tomás burst out laughing and told me:
- Nana, you have to talk less and pay more attention.
The best chess and life lesson I have ever received.