That brute of a boy!

by Jon R. Edwards

About five years ago, I taught a young 8 year-old girl named Anna. Blond hair, pink dresses, delightful smile. A real tiger over the board.

In fact, as I recall, Anna won her first 5 tournaments. But I'm getting ahead of the story.

It was her third tourney, or thereabouts. A local Barnes and Noble lent us space for a kids event. Registration started in mid-morning. There was no entry fee, and the book store donated some nice book prizes. A woman came up to register her son, with a 6 year-old girl at her side.

Of course I asked if she also wanted to enter her daughter.

"She doesn't know how to play."

"No problem. I have some time. In ten minutes, she'll know enough to play."

"You don't understand," was the reply, "she's a girl."

I had no response to that kind of illogic. Obviously, her daughter did not play. So here we were at the beginning of the final round. A swiss system, so that winners play winners. Anna had won her first four games and was paired against the largest boy in the field. Frankly, he was the largest boy I have every seen. And it was clear that he had not bathed in quite some time.

It made for an interesting juxtaposition. Little Anna paired against a man-mountain.

Play started, and the same woman who had kept her daughter from playing stepped up to my table.

"You must be the most incompetent director on the planet to have paired that sweet young thing against that brute of a boy!"

"I'll take a look." So I got up, walked over to Anna's board, looked for a time, and then returned.

"You were right" I replied, "I was very unfair... That boy doesn't have a chance!"