check. mate. arrrrgh.

I always said I would teach my kids to skateboard no matter what. Before I became a mother I thought that was important. In conversation people would humor me and ask 'what if they don't like it?' I would scoff at the notion, but always reply with 'oh if they want to do something else, oh say CHESS hahaha, I will be supportive. But I am sure they will love to skate.'

Well, none of them are interested in skateboarding. And naturally, my oldest has joined The Chess Club. 472 club options available in the past 3 years and this is what he gets excited about.

Who knew I could
a) get married
b) get freaky
c)  have a kid with part of my genes
and d) produce someone who actually 'gets' chess and enjoys it?! This will always fascinate me.

Cool! Let's do this!

I have put it on Mike's shoulders to learn and champion this hobby. Each week he reads and practices chess strategy so he can fil our son with as much chess guidance as possible. They have weekly games where strategy and etiquette are executed. It's rather adorable if you ask me.


A week into the club I got a phone call on a night when The Witching Hour was in full effect and the person on the other line was asking for Aziz Ooch in a thick accent. I ran through the names of each family member in my mind and none of them sounded like the words that came in through the receiver. I asked him to repeat again who he was looking for and the same sounds came out. I assumed he was a telemarketer calling from another country. I kindly replied with 'no thank you' and hung up the phone.  5 minutes later my delayed experience from living in New York and translating foreign accents kicked in and I realized the man on the phone was saying "I am Zane's chess coach". We sat down to dinner and I hoped he would call back. Surely he was just calling to tell us what we already know, anyway: that our son is a gifted chess player.


When he wins the other children every week at chess we feel so proud. Mike and I do high fives any chance we can. We chest bump as we pass one another in the kitchen. We are awesome for having a smart son with smart parents! We comment often to one another how amazing we are. Signing him up, teaching him, helping him, getting him there, giving him books about it, playing chess games on the phone together.....

Just as we were at our peak of pride, the phone rang with The Chess Coach on the other line. This time he used different words and spoke more slowly. I remained silent when he spoke of a time he called before. I was sure he would be calling to offer glowing reviews of our son's chess prowess. I was positive he would be calling to tell me that our son has a natural talent for this game and maybe a more advanced class would be necessary. I sat down on the couch with a knowing smile, waiting for outstanding news about how great our son was at chess and asking us for tips on how other childrens' parents could help prepare them the way have our son. We would be told we are model parents of a brilliant son we have been raising so well.

Only, that's not what actually happened. Somewhere in the twist of reality I heard the suggestion that he should practice a lot. Oh, and that he is practicing wrong. I think my vision went fuzzy and the next thing I knew I was browning meat over the stove for dinner while frantically trying to get ahold of Mike as if our bank account had been hacked.

How could this be?! How could this happen?! Not us! Not our son!!!!!

Alas, The Chess Coach is impossible to get ahold of for questions. Emails have not been returned and we are puzzled. We are stumped and, albeit humorously, humbled. I suppose his first call might have been a good one to take.