A queue of chattering 5th graders eye the checkered board where I wait. The last day of chess club, my students now gawk at the fantastic prize I offered them; a huge chocolate bar. A shy girl of 10 approaches the board. I’ve been waiting the entirety of the competition for her. I’ve noticed her gradual rise from a novice to a top player amongst talented peers. I can sense the confidence that has blossomed over the weeks. I set the clock, 30 seconds for me, 5 minutes for her, and we begin to play. She beats back my initial attacks, prolonging the game far beyond all past attempts. My time quickly diminishing, a subtle smile tugs her lips. But despite her imminent victory, she blunders. I look into her face; she is enthralled by the thrill of the game. I ignore the win and play on. Moves later she stops, grinning ear to ear. The clock reads zero. I too smile, overjoyed by my student’s conquest. I will no longer instruct her every Friday, but her exploration of the game has just begun.