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Friday, November 13, 2009

How to learn the rules of the game

Last year walking stick decided to buy himself a game of chess with his Christmas gift card. He didn't really know how to play, but set about learning through a variety of paths.

He read the rules that came with the game, though those are now long gone. Played games against his parents, who never really learned how as kids so weren't much help. Played against his little brother, which often ended in tears and arguments. Played Chess Lite on my iPhone, while waiting for swimming lessons, car repairs, and little brother's choir practice. Played endless hours of games against himself, my personal favorite. And found a few friends who would play chess at school or on play dates.

Now, eleven months later, he feels fairly proficient in his understanding of the basics of chess. He still tends to recite rules as he remembers them or, as we perceive, as they benefit him the most. Typical nine year old stuff. So when the arguments begin as he plays with his brother, he feels he is now the chess expert. What's a mom to do without the trusty rule book to employ?

I love Google! In less than a minute I've got a chess rules website with descriptions of what each piece can do, visual demonstrations, and information on a few special moves. End of argument! Next step is to teach them how to gently and compassionately remind each other of the rules. Thank goodness I'm a social worker and have years of practice at that! Teach, model, supervise, recognize, re-teach, and on we go...

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