Whenever I play chess with my mother, there are few simple rules that I have to strictly observe:
Always allow for take backs (on moves) or I won’t get anything for dinner. The policy is strictly imposed and must be observed specially on occasions when I got her queen and another high ranking officials in a neat fork; or if she ate my poison piece (not knowing it is poisoned, and I have her official in a very uncomfortable situation, usually hanging in a thin line for survival); or an open check is inevitable without her sacrificing an official). The rule on take back, is that, she got to rethink where she would go in a safer position, usually to my disadvantage. The dilemma of course would be, to accept defeat, or go to bed hungry? I of course would rather eat and live for her sake. Hahaha.
Always Accept a Challenge, until she got a chance for revenge. I often travel because of my work. It means not being able to see her and my siblings for several days. Sometimes extending up to several weeks. So when I get back from my field works, she would challenge me outright. She would promise to play a couple (limitation varies, usually 10 or more). But when we did get to our 10th round, she would of course request for another game, until she gets to recover from her losses. We would sometimes break in laughter when she got me cornered, and when I refuse to gave up, she would tell me her famous line, “anak payagan mo na ang nanay” when translated “child, let your mother win”. It’s a neat win of course (although I allow take backs, but I use all my brain capacity to strategize an attack), because it was never my character to take it easy on her. I like to tease her trying to prolong the process although I know I’m losing it. I use to tell her that she should be proud for coming up with an excellent student. In the first place, she was the one who taught me chess.
Another reason why I never deny a challenge is that, I never knew when it would be the last game. Unexpected things happen. Show the ones that matters to you that they do while you have the chance. They might lose you, or you, them. At least there would be no regrets. Chess is a common interest for me and my mom, it’s a time when would also chat about this and that, these and those, and anything that comes to mind.
Play Like You Mean It. For the hundred games that we played together, I can almost see the sequence where our pieces go. But I still play like it was something new to me. Because she deserves my full attention. I see her happy specially when she’s on an advantage. Hahaha. She had no other opponent aside from me anyway. She tried teaching my younger siblings, but they’re not interested. So she focused on attention to me instead. And I usually research for openings. So she would be surprised and ask me what is it called. Sometimes I invent names to amaze her. It works sometimes. Sometimes it doesn’t.
Say Thank You and promise another game tomorrow. I live in a family where affection is shown easily. When sorry is never said on second thoughts if you know it’s your fault anyway. When I sometimes get really aggressive and felt bad about losing, she would suddenly quit. So I know I’m becoming self-centered. So I lay low on my attitude, and become nicer instead. I have to say thank you after the long tournament. And promise her another game after.
These rules, I obeyed faithfully out of respect for the teacher, and the mother, who taught me that in chess, winning is not everything. It’s the laughter shared and the time spent that makes it worth it.