While the kids are ready and perfectly willing to spend the whole day playing on the computer or watching movies, with an occasional trip to the mall, us parents know the importance of educating them. So, much to their displeasure, we rounded them all up, bundled them in the car and left for the Big City, where there was an International Chess Festival. I have no idea what an International Chess Festival is, but it was free and looked somewhat cultural and educational, so we thought we'd give it a whirl.
Famous last words.
The problem with getting to the Big City, is not so much getting there but staying there, because it is Hell on Earth to find parking. After driving round here and there we eventually decided to try an underground parking lot which was also mainly full so we found ourselves driving round and round underground waiting for someone to leave so that we can grab their old space.
But there is no air underground and so after a while we all feel sick, with one of my girls feeling the sickest of them all. At the last possible moment she announces that she will in fact vomit and while we are scrambling to find a bag for this purpose this is exactly what she does. There is a lot of screaming from the back of the car but thankfully I cannot see what is going on until we eventually spy a car pulling out and get a place.
My poor daughter and the seat where she was sitting look a lot the worse for wear and it is obvious that she cannot go to any International Chess Festival looking and feeling like she does. So the first task is to clean her off or, even better, to get her a new set of clothes. We eventually opt for the latter and she is decked out in a skirt that is a little too big, but she will grow into it, and a new top.
Now we are ready for the International Chess Festival, but no one really wants to go now. We are exhausted from dealing with her and the general aggravation, she feels terrible and the other kids are too grossed out to think about knights and kings and the like. I make a few jokes. No one laughs. I try again, this time I get a smile from my daughter who is now quite happy in her new clothes.
So we basically get back in the car and go home.
This is one of those tests of parenting, of being a decent person, of taking command, when everything is going wrong all around you, you can find a lesson here to teach your kids and yourself. I am not convinced that I really passed the test, but I didn't fail too badly, I didn't make her feel her too bad and made her see the funny side of this if there is one.
Chess is about strategy and about understanding your opponent and outwitting them. I prefer games where to succeed you have to work together, because then you have more fun.