Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Feeling Better and Walking Again and Willow's Chess Club

I was sick for about 10 days and today I finally felt better enough to go for a walk.  It was nice.  I actually walked the farthest I've gone since I started my walking training.  I walked 3.25 miles today!  Yes!  My hip is a bit sore and my left ankle a little, too.  But beyond that, I feel pretty good.  It's amazing to me how quickly my walking endurance is improving.  Even with being sick as along as I was.  I think I may have been able to go farther even, but I really needed to get home because I had to go pick up my daughter from her chess club.

Warming up before the tournament.  She was so excited!
Speaking of chess club, my daughter loves being in chess club.  She went to her first practice tournament on the 19th.  She has another tournament coming up on the 10th, which is the same day we are supposed to go to my aunt's house for a Christmas party. But it should be fine.  The tournament is early in the morning and my aunt's party isn't until later in the afternoon.

Got her game face on.
At Willow's first tournament, she got to play against 7 different girls.  One girl she played before the tournament began, just as a warmup.  That little girl was in the 3rd grade (Willow is in 4th), and she kicked Willow's butt.  Willow is an impulsive player, no strategy at all.  I had never seen her play before, so it was interesting to see what she had learned so far and how she used that knowledge.  This is her first year in Chess Club.  Since she is a beginning player, it is obvious right now they are really more just teaching the basics of piece movement and not so much into the strategy part. All in due time, right?

Willow explaining some rules to her first opponent.
After the practice tournament officially began, Willow got to play six different girls.  The tourney was only for girls, actually.  It was a practice tournament to let them see just what happens at a tournament and prepare her for the next one.  The next one will be co-ed.  Willow won her first game, which I think gave her a nice boost of confidence.  Then she played to a draw, then lost a game, and then played to three more draws.  Sometimes she was on the attack, sometimes she was on the defensive.

Thinking hard!
Willow's coach was unable to come due to some scheduling conflict and he had arranged for another teacher to sub as coach.  That teacher never showed, which was highly irritating.  We still managed to figure things out without him, though.  It was very difficult for me, as a parent, to step back and watch the kids play without interjecting my thoughts.  I didn't think it would be appropriate for a parent to be giving pointers during the game.  After all, coaches are only called over when a kid has a question.  Since Willow had no coach, I tried to call over other coaches if the girls had a question rather than answer the questions myself.

But it was soooo hard for me to keep my mouth shut. The first girl Willow played in the tournament Willow had in check several times, and she never pointed it out.  And the girl never noticed.  At one point, Willow could have moved one piece and had the girl in checkmate, but she didn't seem to notice.  Instead, she moved a different piece and destroyed her set-up.  She eventually won, but only after taking every piece the poor girl had on the board and chasing her around a bit.

Ditto with the other games.  It wasn't just Willow who was making weird choices and not noticing openings.  These are all just beginning chess players and so of course they aren't going to see a lot of stuff.  But it got so hard to keep quiet that I eventually went and sat down on one of the couches, dug out a book and read, because I just couldn't stand it.  Apparently, I have a tendency to be like one of those loud, bossy soccer moms.  Who'd a thunk?  I had to bench myself.

It will be interesting to see what her next tournament will be like, since it will be boys and girls playing.  Willow is very excited and can't wait for the next one.  She goes to practice twice a week and she is learning loads and having fun.  Color me a proud mama.  :)