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Black & White

Yesterday was my 10year olds first chess congress.  I wasn’t sure what to expect but he was delighted at the prospect and specifically wanted me to join him.  Surprisingly this was not the fear of separation but actually recognition that he’d have my undivided attention for a constant 9 hours!

Having driven the hour or so to the coast, we arrived at a Primary school venue to find a melee of children all very excited to be there, back in school!  Of course they were there for fun but the irony was not lost on any of us.

The congress was superbly organised by a small group of volunteers funding free drinks and snacks with a raffle.  So taxi duties completed and totally captive all I had to do was sit around for 7 hours.

Actually, this proved to be a great opportunity to catch up on work and reading.  Though the reality was that being my Saturday I couldn’t quite summon up enough the same diligence as I would normally… so I also chatted and watched the kids and parents…

Most of the children were obviously keen to play chess but also very relaxed about their performance at the tables.  Some were jubilant but there’s no place for soccer heroics after you’ve swiftly beaten someone at chess.  In between round the kids played or read or made use of the free snacks!

The day finished and awards given we headed home to find an empty house.  The rest of the family rather than staying at home had gone to an impromptu kids party!

Reflecting on this day of chess, so much of what we expected was different but still enjoyable.  The environment made that happen and there was joy in the unexpected.  Little in this world is black and white even if you think it is.

This is a short but sweet post on my Saturday at a chess congress but I think there are parallels with what we do each day of our week.

So what are you doing to create the environment for the unexpected?  How much does your expectation influence your experience?  Would love to hear your thoughts & experiences!


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