The Last Chess Game

Posted on February 8, 2011

The Last Chess Game

We began to understand what

We didn’t understand

That you had your own way

A unique approach

To Everything

I taught you chess

When you were ten.

Instant connect

Intricacy fascinated you

Playing game after

Game after game.

I won

Easily, every match.

But time passed and

We stopped our matches

Not from

Your frustration,

But from mine.

You made

The same mistakes,

Over and over.

You had hit a barrier

I tried hard

To teach you past it.

But you always,

As always,

Sought your own approach

And then you were 12.

We played again.

Something was different.

Some new neural connection

Now complete,

Melded in your  mind.

Both in your strategy,

And in your insight

Into my strategy.

Again, something was different…

You still made mistakes,

But not many.

I still won.

But never easily.

And never by much.

And then, one day,

While doing a crossword puzzle

I played mindlessly  along.

And you won.

A bright light gleamed in your eyes,

From that day forward,

We competed in earnest,

And I could no longer

Take my attention elsewhere.

Now I kept my eyes on the board.

You were pushing back

And your own eyes

were beginning

To wander to other amusements.

You won more and more often.

Suddenly, you had grown

Taller than me.

And then, one winter day,

I asked to play, and

You said,


you’re too easy.”

It was true.

By now,

I never won.

I retired from chess,

But you found new partners.

You cruised the world,

Looking for electronic opponents.

And you played on.

I watched in awe

As your numbers grew.

The ones that tracked how

Good you were.

Your opponents were ranked

And at last

You engaged a “Master”

From Scotland.


In your very first match

You came

Within one move

Of beating him.

And he wrote to you saying….

“Wow, you’re a real bitch!”

And as quickly as

You read his words,

Your eyes implored mine.

“Why did he say that?”

It was a compliment, I said.

But you found this impossible

to believe.

I talked on, but no

Consolation or understanding came.

You were in tears.

And you threw up your “wall”

And retreated

to your room.




You never played again.

From: A Father’s Songs to His Autistic Son – 5

Posted in: Autism