Within days, however, I realised that when father and son sat down to play, they played- the father was not teaching the son to think.
I then started playing the occasional game with my son, where before making any move, I would make him analyse it completely. His game improved tremendously, but the flip side of it was that he started thinking he was invincible.
When we sat down to play today, I realised the game was going to be different. He had decided not to listen to me, and was playing to defeat me. Since he refused to listen to me, and let his king gallop all over the battlefield, it was not difficult for me to checkmate him. The moment he realised he had lost, he burst into tears and started hitting me. "You cheated and won", he accused.
"I never cheat", I told him.
"But you won", he said, before adding, "and you are a bad player."
So it wasn't the losing that was the problem. The problem was that he had lost to who he considered a bad player.
"I am not all that bad", I told him.
"You said you are bad", he replied.
"Your father is better than I am, but I am not totally useless", I assured him.
But it was not enough. He hated that he had lost a game, and told me he would only stop crying after he played another game and defeated me in that.
I tried telling him that it took months of practice before you could become a good player, that he was good for his age and experience but not yet at a level where he could beat me. I told him that if I played to lose, his victory would be meaningless, and that I would never do that. But nothing seemed to register. I got him to stop crying by telling him that I would play another game with him after a couple of hours.
He's having his dinner now, and we will play as soon as he finishes. And all I am hoping for is that he gets tired of playing someone who is playing for a draw and decides to call the game off. Maybe a different parent may let him win, but that I refuse to do- in life, victories need to be earned, and he is never too young to learn that.
Who says parenting is easy?