Volume CLXXI: The Fabulous Free Lance Friday Edition; Chess Introduction and Instruct Sean

Hello every One and welcome to the Fabulous Free Lance Friday Edition, thank King You for being here.

I’ve been enjoying the quiet of My Microcosm lately and did not Write a Post yesterday, though I Writ two Posts double the usual length on Lucky Wednesday if You’re hungry for more Magic (there was a considerable amount of Magic in them).

Even with two Posts double the usual length, I was nowhere near finished Writing and did not even touch on some of the other things I was so excited to share. Like most People, I would like to Focus on doing things I really Love to do. Although Writing this Blog is one of My favourite things to do, My Wish is to Focus on the Good, not the continuous incompetence of Canada’s government – let’s face it, that’s just depressing and it isn’t really news.

I said I was going to be sharing some tales with You from My past and that’s what I’m going to be doing today. The two most influential People in My Life are My Father and Mum, and I Imagine the same is True for most of Us whether We consider it for better or worse. I Wish I could say the Order of influence of My Father and Mum was in reverse Order but it wouldn’t be True. I felt considerably more Love in My Heart for My Mum than I ever did for My Father and that is probably the fundamental reason why he was of greater influence over Me than My Mum. My Mum always believed I would achieve anything I told her I would do, My Father believed nothing. That was the main difference between the two in a nutshell.

For many years I truly resented My Father because he was so much harder on Me than he was on My brother or sister. One of My greatest realizations in My personal growth was to discover that My Father had only ever been Acting. He believed he was Acting exactly as he should to motivate Me to do whatever it was I was going to one day achieve. My Father knew Life would be a lot tougher than I may realize as a child and he didn’t Wish for Me to have any Illusions about things being easy. My Father made Me tough. My Mum made growing up with him bearable.

But all the really important Life lessons were Gifted to Me by My Father. I think My brother and sister believe I still Hold resentment for My Father because they do. I was the last relation of My Father to visit him before he died, and that was roughly four years previous. Although the Happy reunion ended in the usual Way a week to the day later, that first week with My Father is still one of the most wonderful memories of My Life. Nothing in the Universe could ever convince Me that going to see him that last time was something I shouldn’t have done, a waste of time, or something My Father didn’t appreciate. So I’m going to tell You a couple of the more Magical elements of that last visit.

The first is that I arrived on the final day of the world cup and Germany was in the finals. The game had just started and of course My Father and his Friends have beer on the ready. To make Matters that much more Serendipitous and auspicious, My Father’s Friends tell Me as I roll up on My bicycle that My Father had said to them just the night before that he Wished Sean were here to see the final game. For some reason, he believed that I would be the one to come back and offer to help him with his property. I told them there are no coincidences and We had one of the most amazing nights – and any ‘futeball’ fan Will know that Germany did in fact win the world cup that night.

In the first week with My Father I had the opportunity to be tall King with him in Ways I never had before. He was forthcoming about anything I was as King of him. For a full week it was like getting to know a Father I never had. I told him that one of the things that infuriated Me the most about him when I was a child, was teaching Me how to Play chess and then never playing Me after I beat him for the first time. We only ever played three games.

But when I asked My Father about it, he just laughed and told Me that he had nothing else to teach Me and I would never get any better if I kept Playing My Father. He knew I Loved the Game enough that I would find other People to Play. And it’s funny because anyone who really knows chess Will tell You that I was no prodigy. A potential chess prodigy, maybe – but I would have needed the right People to Play. There was a chess club in all the junior schools I attended, they all had ‘chess ladders’ to climb, and I made My Way to the top of every single one with very little difficulty. Although I was not a chess prodigy, I may as well have been for the world of chess I was exposed to as a child.

The game of chess is a powerful metaphor for other aspects of My Life. It isn’t ‘cool’ to be smart. So as a child, One never Wishes to stand out as the smartest kid in the class, and being in a chess club isn’t exactly the best camouflage. So when We moved to the city in junior high where I would start at a new school, I decided to keep My passion for chess discreet.

I did make Friends, of course, and My best Friend knew that every Wednesday night I would go to an open chess meet at the University of Guelph. There were plenty of People there that could teach Me a thing or two on the chessboard. I also figured there was little chance I would run into anyone from My grade eight class at a university chess meet, so My Secret was safe.

But our grade eight English teacher also ran the school chess club and was always promoting it to the class. “If You anyone who plays chess, tell them to come out to the chess club.”

One day, just to irritate and embarrass Me, My Friend points to Me, “Sean plays chess.”

And as I’m shaking My head, My teacher thinks it’s because I’m not very Good and self conscious about joining a chess club. My Friend volunteers, “No, he’s too Good for grade eight chess, he plays at the university.”

So My English teacher tells Me I can Play him and challenges Me to a game after school. Of course, the class goes wild and now I have to accept the challenge. I think only about five to seven People actually stayed after school that day to watch, but I did win – five games straight.

Why am I telling You this? Because My Secret was out and ‘chess geek’ was something I would sometimes hear People whisper as I walked down the halls. To make Matters worse, I had also decided to enter My first official chess tournament which requires membership with the Canadian Chess Federation. The Guelph Daily Mercury happened to cover the Canadian Open which was hosted at the University of Guelph campus and Yours Truly was the highlight of the event as the youngest player.

It was the ultimate ‘uncool’ at exactly the same time I was starting to care about being cool.

The point is, I quit playing chess. It was the first time in My Life where I was connected to People that didn’t make Me feel weird or out of place. I was intimidated and nervous going to the university for the first time but everyone there was so nice to Me and so eager to Play. And a lot of them could beat Me.

So when I say not a prodigy, but enough to feel like one in My own Microcosm, My official Canadian Chess Federation rating was 1248 and reached a high of 1301 if I remember correctly. It’s not exceptionally Good, though My instructor (yeah, I even had a ‘coach’ sort of) believed My ‘true’ rating was closer to 1500. It’s not exceptional in the chess world by any means, but I was probably playing at that level for several years and never improved because I couldn’t find stronger People to play. I was only fifteen when I quit playing seriously. I gave up a Dream of becoming a Master because I was worried about being called a geek.

That’s the takeaway from this Fabulous Free Lance Friday because I am playing chess again, too. It’s one of the Ways I’m celebrating the still in My Microcosm. I would still like to achieve the level of Master One day, so I invite You join Me, I accept challenges from any Friend or People within 25 points and up to 100 points above My rating. My first goal is to become as Good as I was as a child.

Play Me on Chess.com!!!

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