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Red Tory

It’s great fun promoting pawns, especially after a bruising game of attrition. I can certainly appreciate how a 10 year old would find the allure almost irresistible.

Gray Lensman

Another conservative-in-training.



I know the dad. He's a Liberal.


I played that game every day at lunch my junior and senior years of high school, and I don't think I or my opponents ever aspired to promoting pawns unless out of sheer desperation.

He'll learn.

Anne Laurie

Oy veh. As good a Liberal as he is a father. Because in today's America, it's not whether you win or lose, it's where you place the blame...


I'm with Red Tory. Promoting a pawn is like saying "Shazam!" and finding out that it actually works.

As for how to coach the 10 year old without crushing him, well, I have zero experience as a dad, so I don't know if this would be appropriate: take him out for an ice cream cone or something to celebrate the victory, and after showering him with hosannas or whatever, say something to the effect of, "That was a great game, son; wanna know how to get to the next level?" Or something like that.

[As for] Bad Chess Dad... I had father figures absolutely kill my interest in something in just that way.

blue girl

Yeah, Lance! Stop being the 10 year olds soul crusher!!

Just kidding.

If parents had endless patience and were always in the perfect mood, well rested, etc. -- they would never be soul crushers. But, that's not reality. Plus there are different soul crushing levels. The Bad Chess Dad that you described was a soul crusher of the highest order and I agree with Tom.

Good for the 10 year old being such a great chess player. And he'll learn about the whole pawn thing. With a litle help from his dad.

Cryptic Ned

Your 10-year-old's name is disclosed in this post. That may have been unintentional.


That is a great Rose story.

Dennis Steele


My name is Dennis. I am the site admin for I am starting a new link list of blogs and was wondering if you would be willing to link to my site.

If so you can use these links

Let me know when you the link is placed and I will post your link.


Site Admin


Is it good news that the crazy sports parents have made the transition to more intellectual competition? S'pose not!

Exiled in New Jersey

Good reporting, Lance! I began playing chess while in the service, just before the great Chess scare of the early Seventies, when it looked like the game might become REALLY popular. I remember playing a 10-year old in one tourney at a hotel in Philly. Behind him were his Dad, Mom and other assorted hangers on. Horrible feeling trying to play all of them. The boy looked so earnest, like he didn't want to let his fans down. We reached a fantastic position, with piece en prise all over the place. I'd like to tell you what happened but my memory goes blank. I think he offered a draw, since both of us had little time on the clock, and I think I grabbed the offer and hugged it. That was 1969; by 1974-75 his picture was in Chess Life as one of our best.

To get more long winded, I was interviewing a client Tuesday afternoon to do his taxes. He has a slight tax problem; he is a man in his mid-fifties who won $50,000 playing poker last year. On a hunch I asked him, "Did you play serious chess when you were young?" Sure enough he did. Back then the 'pro's' made second livings playing backgammon, now it is poker.

Kevin Wolf

Chess is one of those things I wish I knew how to play. (Poker not so much.) I actually bought Chess For Dummies but haven't taken the time to sit down and learn the basics. Then I'd have to scare up an opponent...

Still, I muddled through this post as best I could. Too bad about the parent ruining the fun/challenge for the kid.

The Heretik

I promoted a pawn once, then he fired all the other pawns. A sad day for pawnkind. I should never have pawned off any responsibility on the cur . . . .


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