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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

battle of the brains

Blurb: A gifted child and brilliant mother face off in a battle
of the brains. Some people call it chess. I call it torture.


As a mother, I am proud to have such an intelligent son. Joseph
is in advanced math, reads far above his grade level and earns
straight A's on his report card. Naturally, he needs to exercise
his brain with strategy games like chess. He's an only child and
most of his friends would rather play video games. When it comes
to chess, I'm Joseph's favorite victim.

You know I'm deaf-blind. You are probably thinking, "How can she
even play chess?" You'd be surprised at the number of adapted
games available these days. The nice part is that they can be
played by both people who are blind and those who are sighted.

The board is black and white. The black squares are slightly
higher than the white. This makes it easy to feel each square and
identify where pieces are located. It also helps players "see"
ahead and behind or follow diagonals, so they can properly move
their pieces.

How can a person touch and feel the board without making a mess
and knocking everything out of place? It's simple. Every space on
the board has a small hole in the center. Each chess piece
contains a little spike on the bottom. The spikes fit into the
holes and keep the pieces secure.

Of course, there has to be a way for blind players to distinguish
between the white and black pieces. This is done by shape. The
white pieces all have flat, rough tops. The black are round and
smooth. The black knights have one ear. The white knight have
none. The black king has what feels like a cross on top. The
white king is missing the upper portion of the "cross." Even when
the pieces are mixed up all over the board, it is possible to
find which you want by touch alone.

So we began... Joseph reminded me to remember my opponent's
weakness. This was code for, "I know you have trouble with pieces
that move diagonal."

It's the truth. Although it is possible to feel the board in all
directions, I never pick up on the diagonals. I hate bishops and
the queen. The knights are hard for me to catch, too. Joseph is
always ready to use that against me.

Joseph had a new strategy this time. I didn't have a clue what he
was doing. I decided to go after his knights and bishops. It
looked like I had him running scared. Ironically, I was doing
major damage with my bishops and knights. I even got his queen.
He only had a few pawns and his king left. The game would be
mine... or not.

Joseph got one of his pawns across. I saw it coming, but couldn't
get there in time. He got his queen back. My good pieces were all
on the other side of the board. Within a few moves, he had me
trapped. Check mate.

I had a headache. I swear my brain cells were protesting. Joseph
said, "That was fun. Let's play again!"

I reminded him that he still needed to pack for his trip and
take a shower. It was 8:00 PM. "We have plenty of time," Joe
said.

Once again, I quickly managed to get rid of his queen, bishops
and knights. I had his king on the run with my queen and rook. I
was trying to trap him. He managed to avoid it and stay out of
range of my bishops. He was so careful about every move he made.

At 9:45, the game finally ended. It happened again. He got his
pawn across, regained his queen and that was the end. In the
battle of the brains, the 11-year-old is king.

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