When I was a young lad, I remember commuting from our house in Quezon City to Vito Cruz in Manila every Saturday morning to attend a special class - I was enrolled in Milo Best Chess Clinic run by the Metropolitan Chess Club.
Chess school has 12 levels. While on the program, you also join tournaments. Every win you get a rating, and if you win enough tournaments, they confer to you the title "master."
My chess teachers live and breathe chess. They practically eat and sleep on chess boards. Believe me when I tell you they are really, really good. They taught me the fundamentals of chess and its language. They introduced me to chess-books and the classic matches of Kasparov and Bobby Fisher - the legends of chess.
Not very long before my basic lessons, I was beating every kid of my age. Not very long after that, I was beating adults four times my age. I was also winning inter-school tournaments.
I do not know if it was good or bad, but not long after my winning streaks, I realized that I did not want to be a professional chess player and was happy and contented with the chess fundamentals I know. You can say that "everything I needed to know, I learned at level 1."
My last lesson at the Metropolitan Chess Club (MCC) was about a special kind of chess move. I can remember my teacher Mila (the president of MCC) telling me, "Rah, there is this one lesson I want to teach you... chess is 99% tactics and 1% planning. The importance of tactics is so significant - it is the secret to winning the game." Our lesson that day was about "The Gambit."
Gambit is a special stratagem in chess. The idea behind it is for a player to sacrifice a piece to gain control of the game.
Little did I know that it is a lesson not only in chess, but also in life. I learned that, "Sometimes, something has to be given up to gain control of the self."
Tomorrow the gambit begins. But it does not end there.
The gambit gives the initial advantage, but the game is won - one... move... at... a... time.