Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Girly Chess

Girly Chess

Abigail wrote and performed the following song for Sara and I Monday night:

you're boring
y'all are boring
y'all are boring
y'all are boring
{end chorus}

so very, very boring
when someone made up the word boring
they were thinking of you
and chess

chess is boring
and so are you
you're so very, very boring
y'all are boring, boring, boring
and stupid too
because you play chess
and chess is stupid and boring

{repeat chorus}

Ah, my youngest sister, the burgeoning 3-minute artist. After about 4 renditions of this song, Sara and I locked her inside the house so we could finish our game of chess, which Abby had been diligently trying to disrupt as we played on the side porch.

My teenage sister, Sara, has always been a girly-girl, but when I taught her chess at age 9, she took right to it and has never stopped secretly loving the game. Because I was the neighborhood babysitter around our old house, I taught most of the kids chess and she had plenty of others to play it with. Now that she's moved, there's no one else her age that knows how that she'd socialize with. High School is just sort of like that; I'm sure that once she gets into college she can reveal herself as a chess player once again without fear of recrimination.

Of course we don't play chess with a timer, or with any strategy books. We play what could only be called Girly Chess, on a tiny pink and black marble board I bought in Mexico years ago. The pastel pink & black marble pieces were never terribly well made, and after years of rough treatment by children's hands have now been replaced with little pieces Sara and I made out of Sculpy clay. We have taken to making chess pieces for fun because there's so much room for interpretation on those six different forms of Rook, Knight, Bishop, Royalty and Pawns. Our Girly Chess pieces are filled with glitter, and come in lots of different colors. Sara's are especially cute without remorse.

In Girly Chess, we openly mock each other, but allow take-backs of moves. It's common while one person is deliberating to play with the pieces you've captured in a taunting manner. For example, if you have both the knights, you could make them kiss each other and sort of prance them around on your side of the board, while saying loudly "Oh, look how happy the horses are to be together again! Why, they're playing in the grass over here, so very happy not to have to be on the board any more!"

The point of Girly Chess is not only to capture the king, but to really grind in the capture of other pieces as well, so that halfway through both of you are laughing so hard you can hardly play. Girly Chess is about being a cunning trickster, a bluffer, a Coyote out to take down your opponent's court and make them love you for it. Sara and I are evenly matched on the board, but Abby's yet to grow the patience for it.

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