Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Searching for Bobby Fischer's Shoes

Last Friday night was the end of my hosting duties for chess. Taught by Dr. Mikhail Korenman from Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia, the group is made up mostly of 5-7 year-old boys with a couple of girls.  One adorable little blond girl giggles sweetly as she annihilates Jack at chess each week.  I told him to get used to being crushed by cute blonds and to aim for the brunettes later in life.  He looked at me funny.  I get that a lot from the boys.  And pretty much anyone who meets me.

Dr. Korenman had once ruled these chess lessons with a Soviet-styled iron fist - demanding complete attention and respect.  His imposing brow and exotic speech kept the kids in line.  Yet lately, the mob has been staging a populist uprising via couch-jumping and bishop-throwing.

I of course am not pleased.  I had thought of Dr. Korenman as a kindred spirit in discipline and structure.  Instead, he apparently has a soft spot for these little hellions.  He enjoys the children and explains to me in his thick, Russian accent that they are just little kids and patience is required.  He seems to get a kick out of their spunk and dimpled angelic faces that mask their desire to turn my house into The Jump Zone

So at the end of each lesson, I am left yelling at my little Bobby Fischers to gather up their shoes.  These shoes chronically span the distance of my entire downstairs and show up in every possible corner of my house.  One week, I spent 15 minutes looking for a boy's shoes only to discover them in the bathroom sink.  The bathroom sink?  Children have put on mismatched shoes in lieu of finding their actual shoes and walked out of my house.  I'm usually too tired to stop them.

I thought I had maximum dosage of chess until Dr. Korenman's daughter arrived last week to fill in for her father.  She cunningly worked her way into the hearts of each child, discussing their favorite subjects at school and their favorite songs.  Danny, of course, responded, "Rent."

Then she came at them with the hard sell for Chess Camp, describing how the happiest moments of childhood itself were the hours she spent learning chess on beautiful summer days.

Not surprisingly, when the moms came to pick up the children, they were all pleading to get registered for Chess Camp that moment.  The checkbooks got whipped out and Miss Chess Master knew she had worked her pawns right into checkmate.

So Chess Camp it is.  If anyone is interested, you can email Dr. Korenman at intecsus@yahoo.com or call him at 630.789.2951. 

Verbal okay from the moms was obtained to put these pictures in blog. For the two lawyer-dads out there, please don't sue me. 

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