I learned the rules of chess when I was 10, and started playing when I was 14. That's a bit late to become really good, but who cares? Chess is fun at any level. It is played on a square board with 8x8 squares, colored alternatingly black and white, with a black square in the left-hand corner (half of the commercials featuring a chess board get this wrong!) For those who can easily generalize from 3 to 8, and even from 9 to 64, here's an artist impression of the board:

Even though I think all 9 people in this picture are Dutch [one of them might be Belgian], 8 of them are not related to me. I'm in square c3 or h8, depending on how you look at it [I bet you're a chess player if you thought 'h8']. The photographer who composed this piece of art is called Karin Gottlieb, which is funny, because one of my teachers German in middle school was called Gottlieb, which is funny, because he would let us read a story by Heinrich Böll, called "Das Nilpferd Gottlieb." "Nilpferd" means "hippopotamus," whereas "Pferd" means "horse," and in Dutch "horse" is translated as "paard", which in turn is used to designate the "Knight" in chess, which happens to be the chess piece in my hand. Nothing is a coincidence.

I played at the following chess clubs: