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My Daughter's First Game
April 24, 2004

I came across this exchange in a chess forum and thought it was sweet.

Date: 08 Jan 2004 23:38:30
From: sandirhodes
Subject: My daughter's first game

That said, I would like to tell you about my daughter's first game of chess. She was exactly 2 years, 3 months and 2 days old at the time. Now mind you, I have never taught her any moves, any rules, or anything about the game. She has seen me read Chess Life, and noticed that the diagrams had 'horsies.' Other than that, as far as I knew, she knew nothing of the game.

I had my analysis set out (for the first time in her life), and was going over a KeyKracker helpmate in 6 (one solution). I had just come upon the idea and worked it out, when she came over and said "horsie, play game." I didn't think much about it, but decided to set the pieces up and see what would happen.

That's when she noticed the clock sticking out of the piece bag. I haven't played tournament chess seriously for many years, so I still have my old BHB with the little red flags that raise as your last 5 minutes tick off. I set the clock for 5 minutes each, and then chuckled to myself. Such a force of habit! I then gave her 30 minutes to my 15, as I assumed there would be a lot of time wasted. See noticed the buttons on the top, and gave me a look like 'how do you do that?' So, not thinking she'd understand, I told her, and showed her how it worked -- that after we make a move, we hit the button, and then it is the other person's turn. I was shocked that I only needed to tell her this once. She was ready to rock!

So anyway, she had White, and got to move first.

Campbell, Emma Lee(UNR) (g/30)
Campbell, Royce E(1827) (g/15)
January 7, 2004 --
I punched the clock, and she immediately reached for her KP (that's the one on e2 for you young folks), and advanced it 2 squares.
She looked up at me and smiled, then reached over and pushed the button with her tiny index finger. I was rolling with laughter on the inside! Oh, how I wish someone had been videotaping that exquisite moment! Not only had she made a reasonable first move, she had done so with authority and aplomb!
While I was marveling at this, she said, 'move, Daddy, play.'

I looked at her with awe again, and thought, well, I might as well do it right, so I explained to her that when it was not her move, she shouldn't interrupt her opponent -- and she didn't do so again!
I looked at her once more, reached for my own KP (on e7), and advanced it to meet hers. Come and get me, Sweetie, I was saying. I was actually starting to believe that she knew what she was doing! I punched the clock.

1. e4,e5;

And then it happened. Who knew that a novelty would exist for White on the second move of a double-KP opening? She reached to her g-pawn, picked it up, and placed it aggressively on f4!
She slammed the clock like the guy at your club who always thinks his moves are great, and such was the proof -- you know the one I mean. I knew this game would be difficult now.

2. ..., d6;
3. h2-f5!, f6? (I thought I'd give her a chance to prove she could get me on that short diagonal);
4. Rh1-g6!, Nc6 (Hmm -- setting up on that diagonal, eh? I think I'll get out of Dodge);
5. Bf1-f3, Bd7 (I really just wanted to see what she would do, pretending as she was, to play the game);
6. Ng1-g4, Qe7;
7. Bc1-d3, 0-0-0 (Whew! After all that artillery on the K-side, I was glad to get away to the Q-side, especially with that secret color-changing Bishop she whipped out);
8. Ke1-h5?, Qf7 (Setting up a pretty end);
9. Nb1-h3??, hg6++
I found it interesting that she inherently did not move a piece twice in the opening, used the clock perfectly, and did not chatter thoughout the game. though it lasted only a few minutes. When I took her rook, however, she reached over and put it back on the board, and handed me my pawn. I guess touch-move is the next lesson!

I hope you all enjoyed this as much as I did when it happened.

Royce E. Campbell, aka sandirhodes

Date: 09 Jan 2004 05:50:20
From: Jud McCranie
Subject: Re: My daughter's first game


I found it interesting that she inherently did not move a piece twice in the opening, used the clock perfectly, and did not chatter thoughout the game.

I was playing with my 6-year-old daughter today and twice I had to tell her to take the piece out of her mouth.

Date: 09 Jan 2004 12:55:25
From: Sam Sloan
Subject: Re: My daughter's first game

Thank you for posting this. My daughter Sandra is just two years two months old. Every day, she takes the chess pieces out of the bag and puts them on the board. She almost always puts them on squares, not on the lines. She moves them around and finally usually puts them back in the bag.

I say that she is playing chess, even though she does not always make the best move.

Sam Sloan

Date: 09 Jan 2004 18:56:09
From: Matt Nemmers
Subject: Re: My daughter's first game

Great story, Royce. Can't wait until my three year old (and, later on, my one year old) can sit still long enough for me to teach her the game!



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