# # Chess, anyone?

Brother, I Can See Your Skull.

Brother, I Can See Your Skull. - The Coreyshead Blog

Chess, anyone?

Y’ever love something that, because of your inability with it, you should hate or, at best, claim indifference to?

That’s me, to a ‘t’, with chess.

I remember the last time I actually played someone (a good 7 years ago, if a day). After a reasonably stable, classic opening, my game became so perplexing to this more accomplished player that he assumed I had some plan, some devious and heretofore unseen strategy, that would, at the last moment, reveal itself just when he thought he had me.

Much to the contrary, his checkmate went off without a hitch and was barely contested (the truth is, I hadn’t seen it coming).

The problem is quite simple, really. I’ve yet to develop the ability to see far enough ahead to plan an effective offense or defense. I try, I honestly try, but my mind just can’t seem to do it. Also, I have the spatial abilities of a one-eyed woodchuck. It’s pathetic to the point of embarrassing – but I don’t really care. I still love the game.

Chess is about intricacy. It’s about patience. It’s about challenge and concentration. All of which make it seriously perplexing that I enjoy the game as much as I do, because if you offered to engage me in anything that required all of the above that wasn’t chess, I’d tell you to go suck eggs.

I don’t enjoy logic puzzles or math, and have similar success with them – so why am I so enamored of chess?

Much of the attraction for me, to be sure, is the rich history of the game: its storied past is reflected in game pieces and play that reflect our own storied past.

Also, I am fascinated by the aesthetic of the board and pieces themselves. The look and feel of a good set gets my gaming juices flowing and, seeing one of my games in progress, awaiting my return, fills me with a contentment not unlike that of having completed a phase of an art project. It doesn’t hurt that I was raised by a carpenter and thus love wood craft (the big, inlaid board I play on was made by my dad and I prefer wooden, Staunton style pieces).

Further, I’ve always loved games but, for the most part, have fared rather badly at those that take more than luck and a little thought to win. It has only been within the last ten years or so that I’ve begun to understand why I have such problems with most strategy games, how this deficit is reflected in my daily life, and how to combat it.

Recent life changes have driven me back to chess.

Having the time and solitude to concentrate on the game again is one factor but also the mental exercise that the game entails brings me a sense of inner peace that meditation, exercise, and shooting at people from atop a tower with a high-powered rifle doesn’t do for me.

Consequently, I try to play a few turns or more against an electronic board over breakfast during the week, and have taken to solving problems both online and in a book, with the recent outcome of my finally beating the lowest setting on the chessboard -Huzzah!- but playing a computer isn’t as good as playing a real person.

Unfortunately, my schedule is such that I can’t really put aside the kind of time one would need for a full, face-to-face game – so how about you?

I can read and write chess notation with some degree of success so, if anyone out there would like to engage in a little virtual chess match …

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4 Responses to “Chess, anyone?”

  1. ren says:

    I’ve never played a single game. I do know that there’s some royalty and that the little horsies are knights.

    Sorry for my ignorance.

    • cae says:

      It’s really an awful lot of fun if you get over the whole ridiculous IQ mystique it has hanging over it; perhaps the only instance in which I am thrilled to be around a horse.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You don’t like logic puzzles, but what about chess puzzles? Not “mate in 2” or so, but really sophisticated ones? I’m talking about Retro Analysis, for example:


    • cae says:

      I like chess puzzles – and am presently working them in my spare time – but I prefer the “mate in 2” type because I am using them to improve my game. Retrograde analysis falls under the kind of puzzle I find tedious. It is visual math. Yecccchh. Great site, regardless. Thanks!

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