An old saying tells us that the best things in life are free. Those people that devote themselves to the tireless pursuit of monetary fortunes can rationalize countless arguments against that phrase, but I believe that it remains true. My case in point is a parting gift I was given late last week by my co-workers before my family packs up and moves to our new home. Knowing my love of chess and wishing to give me something that was personalized and would fit into my personal tastes.

Their answer was nothing short of brilliant: a customized StratoChess set. The board is signed in paint pen by the members of my old work center and the writings range from farewell and we will miss you to inside jokes. The set was originally presented to me with my co-worker’s faces pasted on each of the pieces, but the photos would not stay on, so I removed them for the photo shoot and plan to replace them at a later time.

StratoChess is a variant I have never played and I will probably do a full review of the board itself and the game at a later time. However, for the purposes of this particular set, it is one of the most incredible gifts I have received in my career and I look forward to including it in my collection as my wife and I begin an exciting new chapter in our lives.

I will always be grateful for the people I worked with here in Ohio. My wife and I have made many lifelong friends and we look forward to returning home after our temporary move. This chess set is another incentive for us to return to Ohio where the people have changed our lives and we have been blessed by the grace of God to return the favor on and off the board.