I read this article in the Guardian the other day and came to a couple of conclusions.
Firstly I agree that it's not a good thing to let them win too easily or all the time whatever their age. However there's not much fun, or even learning going on if you thrash them at everything from the moment they are old enough to kick a ball or hold a fistful of cards.
It's also a good lesson as they get older that they should give a chance to younger children. This came home to me at a family footy match a while ago, when the youngest member of the team still received his share of passes and encouragement, but also a couple of gentle tackles as well.
It's a delicate task to make the game interesting enough and not underestimate your oponent, a lesson my husband learnt a while ago when he didn't think he needed to concentrate too much in a chess game with our 9 year old son. He was thrashed and deserved it.
The second thing that came to mind was that it is also a question of sex. Before you get all excited I mean whether the adult is a man or woman. We've all seen some bloke playing ball "with" a young child, he can't help tackling the kid and playing solo until the kid gives up and plays with mom instead, at least she will share the ball.
Although saying that, our traditional family trivial persuits are played in teams of boys against girls, these are fights to the death that can, and often do, involve dirty tactics and next day sulks from the losers.
At the end of the day winning usually feels better than losing, but not against a three year old.
What's your "letting them win" policy?