The room is silent. You can literally hear the people breathing around you while you study the sixty-four checkered squares in front of you.
Glancing over at the chess clock you see you have plenty of time left in your game. A move cries out to be made, but you bide your time and check for others. You know that a move made in haste could cost your dearly.
Finally, confident that your initial idea is sound, you reach out a hand and grasp your knight, hopping it to its intended destination. There is an audible gasp from a few behind you.
You hit your clock signaling your opponent’s turn. Only then do you steal a glance at him. He meets your eyes with a look that speaks defeat. You see that he knows it is just a matter of time.
He shakes his head and stares at the hopeless position. You lean back in your chair and watch him study the board for possible flaws to your plan. There are none. It is hard to stifle the grin that threatens to spread across your face.
You glance around at your spectators. Some recognize your opponent’s fate, while others wear puzzled expressions. Two whisper to each other and finally nod their heads in understanding. One winks at you in admiration and turns to observe a game with a less determined outcome.
The fact that you are only ten years old, playing in an adult tournament, might have intimidated some, but not you. No, you know that your dedicated study and eagerness to learn the game has paid off.
You continue to improve each time you play.
Your teachers at school notice a difference, writing glowing praise home to your parents on a regular basis now. You know that you can do whatever you put your mind to do and it shows in various aspects of your life.
Your opponent shakes his head, stops the clock and reaches out his hand to you, signaling his resignation. You shake his hand, smile and offer to analyze the game with him, a ritual amongst players. He returns your smile and nods.
You know he doesn’t care about your age, because he knows your analysis will help him improve. How many activities are there where an adult would be eager to hear the thoughts of a child?
As you set up in the next room to go over the game you notice other adults have followed. They too want to hear what you have to say. There is no better feeling.