This is what I call pushing his luck too far with me.
There I was, minding my own business, when I received an email from a total stranger asking me for some advice on seeking chess trainers in the Klang Valley to assess the potential of his three-year-old son. Three years old? Methinks, barely out of his diapers. Could be, still sporting a dummy in his mouth. Boy, there's a lot of fatherly pride there.
Okay, so I'm a chess writer. In this field, he would probably be correct to believe that I would know quite a number of people who call themselves chess coaches. Some are quite decent but there are also those who are less-than-decent. But I'm not here to discuss their coaching capabilities. If anyone wants to know who can provide chess lessons to beginners in Penang or the Klang Valley, I can point my fingers in a few useful directions.
Which was what I did in this case. I made some suggestions to the fella and even recommended that he takes his three-year-old son to the forthcoming Malaysia Chess Festival and have a look at some of the one-day events there. Who knows, it could possibly spur his three-year-old son to really be interested in the game.
I sent off the email. And I thought that would be the end of the matter. It's normally the case with strangers asking me chess questions. They'd be so satisfied (I haven't met anyone who has expressed dissatisfaction, really) with my answers that if there was ever a follow-up email, it would be just to thank me for my response.
Today, I logged into my inbox. Ah, several email messages there, including one from this same fella. Probably, a short note to thank me but let me see what he wrote. True enough, he thanked me but huh, what's this? Now he's asking me whether I have any advice on professional coaching for his same three-year-old son in competitive gymnastic and also in playing the violin and the cello. Talk about a father's misplaced ambition for his son!
Like I said, this is what I also call pushing his luck too far with me.