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The joys of being an absolute beginner – for life

The phrase ‘adult beginner’ can sound patronising. It implies you are learning something you should have mastered as a child. But learning is not just for the young

One day a number of years ago, I was deep into a game of draughts on holiday with my daughter, then almost four, in the small library of a beachfront town. Her eye drifted to a nearby table, where a black-and-white board bristled with far more interesting figures (many a future chess master has been innocently drawn in by “horses” and “castles”).

“What’s that?” she asked. “Chess,” I replied. “Can we play?” she pleaded. I nodded absently.

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