I played chess with Ryan today and it was a fascinating experience. He knows the correct moves for all the pieces, as I mentioned before. But more than that, he is looking a few moves ahead, anticipating, forming a strategy.
We talked about our moves as we made them, noting which pieces might be in danger and which squares were being guarded, etc. One of his favorite things to do with Brendan, and he did that with me, is to provide loaded suggestions about where we might want to move our pieces. He's helpful that way.
Hey, Mom, don't you want to move your Queen there, because if you do, then you will put my Knight in danger, but don't worry, then I'll take your Queen with my Bishop and then you can take my Bishop with this Pawn?
He doesn't mind exchanging pieces too much, except his eyes will well up with tears if his Queen gets taken. He loves the Queen so much.
I believe that all this looking ahead is part natural talent and part playing hours and hours of Empire Earth and Age of Empires. Still, it's cool to observe.
And what he does as he collects your pieces during the game is he puts them in "jail." He uses the checkers that came with our combo set as prison walls. Rooks are the guards, Knights build the prison walls, and I forgot what the Bishops do. Pawns guard the perimeter of the compound. After the chess game was over, he continued his jail game for another 30 minutes. That's just what he does, how his brain works. Battles, Good Guys, Bad Guys, Prisoners, Weapons and Battles.
I think chess is a good match for him!