After a mid morning breakfast, I was ready to check what’s happening in the Net, possibly reading the news and of course, blogging. Unfortunately, the power provider once again foiled my attempt. No use complaining because it would be a futile exercise.

What to do? The sun was angry, its blinding rays were painful to the skin. Field work was not an option.

As if an answer to my prayer, a godchild from another town, who I seldom meet, appeared down the road. If I was not mistaken, he carried a chess board.

“Good morning, Ninong,” he took my right hand and placed it near his forehead. It was a local custom, nearly forgotten by the new generation. Not by him, whose parents were devout Catholics.

“Bless you,” I said as I retracted my hand. I was glad to see him. He’s in Grade 8 now.  “Aren’t you supposed to be in school?”

“It’s the annual sports fest. Mother knew I’m coming here.”

“I think I know why you are here. Need a practice opponent?”

He nodded, smiling after seeing me receptive to the idea.

“I’ll be playing board two in the competition.”

“So, you’re improving!” I said, impressed with his news.

“I have defeated older players.”

“Do you think you can defeat me now?” I teased him.

He let out a baritone giggle, a respectful sound of disapproval.

“Ninong, you have not won two consecutive games against me.”

“Is that a fact?” I feigned ignorance. “I am still ahead in our total score.”

“By one game, if I remember correctly,” he grinned, confident he would prevail before he went home.

“Five games? I’ll let you win so you won’t feel bad.”

“I’ll go easy on you, Ninong,” he quipped while he arranged the pieces.

Two hours passed while my honor was shattered to kingdom come. He was not the same player I could dominate as before. In four games, he demolished my position every time.

“I believe I’ll win this last game,” completely satisfied with my position. I was about to take his queen.

“We’ll see,” he mumbled, his concentration never wavered from the board. “You should not take my queen.”

“Why not?” I asked, surveying the end game. “You’ll lose this time.”

That did not happen, though. Three moves later, I was checkmated. His queen sacrifice was brilliant: it led to my downfall.

“I did not see that,” I shook my head.

My godchild saw it differently, rather philosophically.

“Remember, Ninong? You taught me about that,” he said. “The greater the sacrifice, the greater the rewards.”

Elated by his gratitude, I shook his hands rigorously. I felt I won the ‘real’ game.

“You are a child no more. You’re the man!”



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