Woohoo! My grandkids may be able to trounce me at checkers, I may have to battle hard to win SOME of the time at Carcassonne, but I am the Chess Queen – oops, wait a minute. That was true up till a week ago. My oldest grandson finally tied me in one game and BEAT me in another! Yikes! What's a Grandma to do! Smile big and say GREAT JOB, of course. 🙂
My younger grandkids are starting to enjoy chess more but they still can't beat me at it. Rather than "let" them win, we looked it up and discovered there are such things as "Chess Handicaps." Like golf, these handicaps are designed to make chess challenging for both but also give both players a fun chance to win. About.com has some great tips on how to adjust the handicaps based on the number of games won by one player. We ended up at Chess.com with Peter Kirby's interesting article, that included the history of chess. We tried a combination of Cheapo (getting to add back a captured piece and placing it anywhere on the board as long as the King is not placed in check or checkmate) and my not having the King's and Queen's pawn. It definitely made things more difficult for me and more enjoyable for him. The game lasted much longer and we both learned a lot more about it.
Then we tried the Cheapo coupled with him getting to have two turns in a row anytime he wanted – and again, not being able to put me in check or checkmate. That actually worked very well. He's won once and we tied twice. and oh my – you should hear us laugh! Hmmm. Seeing them continue to enjoy this game has led to the thought that I might invest in a really nice chess set for Christmas for all of them. Maybe like the one pictured above. 🙂 Or how about this cool – very giant – chess set! 🙂
Or how about these cool chess sets in pink and red. 🙂
Whether I go with a new set, or keep playing with our trusty old set, I do love playing board games with my grandkids – both for the fun involved and the great mental exercise we all enjoy. How about you? Do you and your grandkids use handicaps to even out the tougher games a bit? What kind? We'd love to hear!
P.S. With all the Sandwich Generation issues we juggle, books are a big help, aren't they? Check out this free, online book on chess – Predator at the Chess Board. I've saved the page to my iPhone, along with a Kindle book I bought, 100 Chess Problems for the Rest of Us by T. E. Klemm, to try reading to my grandkids or else, read it myself and teach them what I've learned. 🙂