Back in the late 1960s, I’d sit for hours playing Chess with Dad. Mum hated the fact that we’d be so silent for ages, and would sulk if the game went on too long. However, Dad taught me well and although I never did beat him at Chess, I did win a match against my uncle when I was 12.

When I married Sam in 1980 I found out that he liked playing Chess too. Unfortunately our matches didn’t last long after he lost game after game. By 1981 the chessboard had been put away, and it wasn’t until the 1990s after I’d taught our sons to play that the board came out again. Like their father though, the boys were sore losers and the chessboard soon went up in the loft. It seemed to me (and still does) that the male of the species cannot face annihilation by a mere female…

But hey, 25 years later those two sons of mine suggested online Chess when we met up at the weekend. I found out they actually play each other at Chess via Facebook, which also allows them to send rude messages to each other at the same time (which they didn’t elaborate on). I’m not on Facebook, but that’s okay because neither of them wanted to play against their mother, who …shock… horror… might still be able to beat them. Leon suggested I download an app where I can play against the computer, and he kindly found one for me.

I’m rusty as hell, as I haven’t played Chess since I triumphed over Leon back in 1999 and sent him into a terrible meltdown. I downloaded the app, picked a one-player game, and lo and behold I was up and running again. So far, however, I haven’t yet managed to beat the computer, who makes lightning decisions in the blink of an eye. But it’s fun! I don’t mind if I lose, and each loss sharpens my ageing brain just that little bit more. I may be able to one day beat the computer, but more likely I may not. So what? I’m enjoying playing Chess again so much now that I don’t care. I’ve found a new pastime.