I had learned to play chess from my former husband. He used to always beat me.  I used to feel angry with myself for not winning. I would take a long time to contemplate my next move. He lost patience.

I gave up playing that game as it seemed very hostile, as it made me feel very needy. And it made demands on me that I was not able to fulfill.

My son, Ishaan, was gifted a Chess set by a dear friend. He likes playing the game. So I had to after many years revive my interest in Chess. I taught him the moves each piece can make and the squares and direction in which they can move. I taught him what is check and check mate.

Each time he lost he threw a tantrum and turned the board over. My first reaction was to stop playing with him. But I stopped myself and got the board back on the table. Patiently putting the pieces back on the squares. I asked him one day, “Do you want to play chess? Or do you want to win?” He said he wants to win. I said, “Then let us run a race”. He looked at me and thought and responded..”But I get tired when I have to physically push myself. Remember the time when I joined a football class and the coach made me run three rounds of the large field and I came  back home with a headache. No Mamma, I can’t do that.”

I asked him gently, “then what do you suggest we do?” He said, “Ok let me learn the moves well and play.” He still wants to kick butt while playing chess. I am working on that with love.

My new friend, Gyan, promised to teach me chess. I told him I want to learn so that I may help my son. He agreed. Last evening he was over at my place and we took out the board and placed the pieces on the board. He patiently showed me all the basic moves. Then we started to play. I notice how each time I made a move, he stopped me and asked..”Why did you make that move?” I was stumped as I had no idea why I made that move. He explained to me that each time I made a move I must contemplate, “What could happen if I made this move?”.

I tried to play with contemplation and found myself getting all nervous and jittery and my mind started to go blank with fear. The fear of a false move made my guts tighten up. I internally gave up each time and made some move anyway to get on with it. And by the third move Gyan would check me.

Then I stopped myself and stopped him. I brought out the Red Wine from the fridge and poured the sweet nectar into glasses and placed them before us. Then I told him gently, “You know I am playing to learn not to win or lose. I can learn by watching your moves as you are a pro. But for that you need to allow me to play my natural moves.”

He was visibly shocked and responded with a little irritation, “but then I will beat you soon and you won’t learn the moves.” I smiled at him and lovingly touched his hands and said, “I don’t mind that at all. I am learning to play and not learning to win.”

I noticed he was not very convinced with my views. He is a loving, affectionate and kind old man. And has deep regard for women. So he surrendered. And I played the next game with my intuition and in my own natural way. I was surprised that I held him for at least 20 moves. And he was suddenly having to recreate and rethink his usual moves. He of course beat me again. But I was so pleased to lose as I had played my own moves and not his.

He looked relieved when the game was over, as for him suddenly to think of new moves was getting tough. And I was so elated as I had no pressure on myself at all. I really saw the importance and beauty of a beginner’s mind.

Chess is amazing!

Wonder if he would want to play with me again? I hope he does as I really enjoyed myself.