2021 Goal: Not Lose To A Kid

Happy New Years all. Even those of you, who like us, celebrate Lunar New Year which is still 6 weeks away. Nobody should feel like they are still left behind in whatever the heck you want to call that last revolution around the sun.

The last few weeks have been a nice break including a week off from work. Our kids spent 2 straight weeks with their cousins and we had a lot of downtime with family. We played lots of games (thanks to my sister for sending Zak Ticket To Ride which was a big hit). Max played chess with an NJ cousin over Zoom…we point the cameras at the board and use the chess grid to announce moves, ie “rook to D4”. We chose not to simply play online because Max is 4 and I think this is a better format for that age.

One fun way to play online is if you use lichess.org (free) and cast your browser tab to your TV. Then everyone in the room can participate. We did this with some puzzles and all the kids could chime in. It’s  much more social than bending your crooked neck over a small screen. On chrome, just mouse over here:

Yinh is a big goals person. She gets won-the-lotto-level excited from planning her next 13 weeks in the SELF journal. It’s on a technology most of you remember called “paper”. Pronounced with a long “a” sound. (I don’t operate this way, I’m much more of a habit tracker, which might sound similar but is spiritually different and a topic for another time. Or not, I don’t know). Anyway, Yinh led all the older kids in goal-setting exercises and one of Zak’s goals is to beat me in chess in 3 consecutive matches. This of course scared me into adding 15 min a day of chess into my habits to at least delay the inevitable.

So I started by putting myself into the mind of my hunter. I started reading How To Beat Your Dad in Chess (as I searched for the title of that book in Amazon to fetch the hyperlink it auto-completed “how to beat your wife”. Maybe it’s better to just wait for malls to open and buy it at Waldenbooks. Screw you, Amazon). In the intro of the book, I came across a great demonstration of what pattern-recognition skills can look like. They are exceedingly context-dependent. If you are trying to assess how effective a new hire can be or how well your own skills translate to different domains than it’s one of those meta concepts to be aware of.

I wrote a thread about it here including screenshots from the book. (Twitter thread)

Finally, I’ll point you to a little discovery I in Google Sheets.

If you use the following function =CHAR(key) you can generate chess pieces!

For example, =CHAR(9818) will generate a black king.

I discovered this as I take notes in Google Sheets from the book. I got stave Zak off as long as possible. (I actually used this against him last night and yes I’m proud of beating a 7-yr-old. Judge me all you want.)

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