Chess is kind of a big deal in my house.

I’m told my husband’s father was an Australian champion and is quite well known in the chess community. I’m not sure if it’s linked but all of his offspring are keen players, even the ones that have no idea about any of the rules.

I have been asked to play many a time before. I too do not have any idea about any of the rules.

One child and I have had some great battles! At least they seem to be that way to the two of us but as I’ve pointed out, it might be fair to question our judgement. Sometimes his horse is indestructible and can never be taken, sometimes he can have as many turns as he likes in a row and sometimes he can move my pieces as well as his own.

We have recently had a house guest that spent some time playing with the boys and giving them some tips and tricks on how to improve their games, he is now lovingly dubbed “the Chessmaster”.

Last night our son wanted to have a game, he wanted to start the game by tipping all the pieces out of their box and onto the board. He must know that in our household the chessboard is a man’s domain so he first addressed his question to his father.

“Can I tip them all out Dad?”

“No” was the undesirable response. “You can take them out carefully one by one.”

In light of this development he turned his attention towards me.

“Can I tip them all out Mummy?”  he says quite deliberately to me.

Before I can answer my husband jumps in and re-informs him that he has already answered this question and that he can’t.

Without skipping a beat he turns meaningfully to look at my husband and tells him in no uncertain terms “I was just talking to Mummy.” You could see him mentally adding the “Thank you very much and you can just mind your own business.”

He looks back over to me and once again asks “Can I tip them all out, Mummy?” although he most emphatically directs the last word towards my husband so that we are all across who the question is intended for and who is allowed to be giving answers to it.

*Image from


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