Hints of morning sun filter through drawn shades, providing enough light to turn the room into a shadow.
Twenty children look around, look at their light and dark faces, look at their boards with light and dark squares, and look at light and dark chess pieces.
Some see more than others.
“The king is you,” F. Leon Wilson says. “The king is the game. That should be your favorite unit.”
“A boy,” blurts out a child.
“Girls, the king is you,” Wilson responds. “If you’re a girl, the king is a girl. Don’t let anybody tell you ladies that the king is a boy. Be proud. The king is you. Protect yourself. Protect the king.”
The children have come from throughout central Ohio to attend Wilson’s summer chess camp on the East Side for beginning players.
“To be a good chess player, you have to be able to visualize,” Wilson tells them. “You have to see things in your head.”
Wilson looks at the children, ages 5 to 17. There are eight girls, 12 boys, two sets of twins, and a racial and ethnic mix.
They are his chess pieces. They are light and dark, not black and white. Wilson doesn’t want children to see the game pieces, squares on the board or themselves with racial overtones.
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