He has always loved John's handmade chess set, wood inlay board and lathed pieces. He asked me to get them down for him, and we went through the dance of the opening moves of a chess game. I was explaining how the pieces each moved to their own character. And he explained back to me how the Monster (his name for a rook, after seeing the first Harry Potter movie, I don't blame him) moves straight. The Pointy one moves like triangles. The Horse ("no, there's no knight. I don't see a knight, where is he?") jumps everything because see... horses jump (as Jet gallops around the room).
And then he proceeds to beat me, making his own semi-random moves, but once he figured out the "killing" he started getting serious with my taking a piece and him figuring out how to take mine. Okay, so he had help from me and from John, but we could both see Jet starting to get the idea of thinking at least one move ahead, as in what could I do if he did a certain move.
Of course, after a timeout for dinner, Jet wanted to play again.
And I hate chess. I had a bad experience as the worst player on a chess team, once, and that was enough for me. So John's playing with him, now. But, man, a four-year-old that likes chess... it's not fair. I really don't want to discourage him, but it's just hard.