When I play “Connect 4″ with the girls, I generally let them win every other game, since I don’t want them to feel that playing with me is hopeless, but I also don’t want them to expect to win all the time.
(This is unlike “Memory,” a game that they can always beat me at, no matter how hard I try. I remember being good at “Memory” when I was their age. Has my short-term memory degraded that much since then, or were the grown-ups I played back then letting me win?)
Last week Maddox asked if I’d teach her checkers. We don’t have a checker set, but we have a chess set and a Connect 4 set, so if you combine those two, presto chango, checkers! We’ve played three games of checkers so far, and I’ve let Maddox win two.
Today Maddox noticed that there were chess pieces in the box we take the board out of, and asked if I’d teach her chess. I don’t have anything against teaching her chess, except that she’d find it hard to remember what all the pieces do, which would make playing chess less fun for us both. So I said “maybe we should wait until you’re a little better at checkers before you learn chess.” And Maddox replied, quite logically, “I won two games of checkers!” Touché!
So I’d have to teach Maddox chess, except that she pointed out the “Ages 8 and up” written on the chess box, and she’s only 7. I guess I’ll teach her chess after her next birthday.
P.S. Every time I let one of them win, I think of that moment in “To Kill a Mockingbird” when Scout learns for the first time that her father, who she beats in checkers all the time, used to be the town checkers champion and has been letting her win.