Lichess's 10th birthday

Earlier this year, of course, the much-beloved Lichess celebrated her 10th birthday. Ever the plucky kid (but also extraordinarily mature for her age), Lichess was in no inordinate amount excited to finally turn double-digits. For the festivities Lichess invited some of her friends and classmates (and that one kid that no one really likes but has to invite anyway) and held a small birthday-bash in the local juice bar (which, curiously, also had a small library built into the back).

First to arrive was chess24, the little kid from two streets down. Despite his small size, chess24 packed a lot of punch, equal amounts maturity, and often hung out with the big boys. Chess24’s parents warmly greeted Lichess, ruffling her hair and tugging on its cheeks –

“What a pretty thing you are,” the mother said.

“It’s not just the cuteness. Don’t you know, Lichess has got the brains to back it up. I wish our kid were as smart – ha ha!”

There was a tinge of jealousy in his voice, though. His wife nudged him in the ribs, they hugged the kid one last time and then took their leave. Chess24 turned to Lichess and began conversing excitedly.

“Hey, check out what I got – 

It was some latest toy or the other. Chess24 was always doing this.

“Another gadget? A new game? I still remember that Dance game—

“Yes! This one is called GrooveTrainerTM 

“I’m not interested, chess24”

“Okay, okay, fine. Did I tell you about my latest LiveChallenge InteractivePuzzleTM –“

“Look! I think the others are here –”

With this they went to the door receive the other kids. Chessbase had turned up, which was nice, it was always pleasant company (even though he sometimes tried to sell the other kids sweets behind the school during lunchbreak). Microsoft Chess had also turned up, which was nice, although no one could quite remember inviting it. 

Suddenly, chess24 spotted something out of the corner of its eye—

“Who’s that?”

There were two kids at the end of the block peeking around the corner. 

“Oh, them. They’re the /r/ siblings. Although the younger one isn’t very bright, I think they’re mostly harmless.”

They returned inside, to find that more kids had arrived, parents in tow. All the adults were huddled in a corner, fawning over a little kid who was barely aged seven.

“Oh, how clever he is!

“He’s going to be very successful one day”

What a prodigy!

Lichess turned to her friends. 

“That’s Magnus,” he whispered. He’s only aged 7, but I think he skipped a few years, so he’s with us now.”

“What a nerd!” said MicrosoftChess. “He may be smart but at least he’ll never be cool like us. We play football!”

But everyone knew he was merely envious. The kid had a lot of insecurities over the fact that he wasn’t quite that popular, and even though his parents made him go for regular supplemental tuitions and even extracurriculars, he was never quite smart or interesting enough for the other kids.

Speaking of which, a new kid had just turned up. Everyone stiffened up, and looked around the company awkwardly. 

“Oh. It’s—” was a tall, lanky kid, who seemed to be many years older than them – the word around was that he had had to repeat a few classes. There were rumours that once it was one of the most popular kids in school, but everything had changed in the intervening years. 

Chessbase squirmed awkwardly 

“Do we have to play with him?”

Lichess nodded.

“But he’s so old

Chess24 chipped in—

“And he smells!”

Lichess considered this. But in the end, as usual, her better judgement prevailed, and she made up its mind.

“Let’s not be like that! Of course can play with us 

“But whyyyy! ” MicrosoftChess wailed, making once again the faulty assumption that anyone took him seriously.

“Because if we start acting like that then we’re no better than 

Speaking of the Devil, a spitball splattered against the windows. The kids rushed up to it, confirming their worst suspicions. 

Outside, standing on the street was a slightly portly young student, with glasses perched high on his nose and his nose thrust heavenwards, like the stern of a sinking ship. The kids didn’t know much about him, except that he was an insufferable snob—

“You guys are losers” the snob yelled, and the boys were glad that there was a protective layer of glass to buffer the taunts and spitballs. “Not smart enough to play with the real stuff,” he said, brandishing an abacus.

“Is he—is he an elitist?” Chessbase whispered to his friends. But the kid outside continued–

“Here is where the real party is at!”, he called out, gesturing around the empty street.

“He has imaginary friends,” Lichess whispered. “Be kind.” 

“And you all are not invited to my party!” the snob continued.

He was still throwing a fit as the kids turned away from the window and back to the festivities. There was a huge cake, with plenty to around. 

Note: This tale is not sponsored, in any part, by lichess.