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Subject: Why you might hate chess. rss

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Andrew Stratton
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Despite what some would say, there are very few board games that are deep rooted into our social fabric. Monopoly is one. Cluedo (or Clue in the US) is another. Various card games such as Bridge and Poker. Be honest, can you think of many others? Games which, when you mention them in conversation, no one says “What’s that?”. Great as Settlers is, great as Puerto Rico is, I had never heard of them till I came to this site. I am glad I did, because these games have provided many hours of excellent and thrilling entertainment. But even so, and I admit that this is close to sacrilegious, they are just games.

So what makes Chess more than these giants of board game geek? The question is complex, and I won’t try to convert anyone who hates this game and thinks it broken. I am going to try and explain why you may hate Chess, so that you can understand why we love it so much.

1. Chess as a sport.

In a way, Chess should not be on this site. Chess is not a game. Chess is a sport. In sport, any sport, people train and practice for month’s even years to become the best they can be, pushing themselves to their very limit, and then trying to go further, to go faster, to go higher, not only than their peers but more than anyone has ever done before. Professional, competitive sport is one of the pinnacles of human achievement. When people get beat by Tiger Woods, or Michael Schumacher, they don’t whinge and say “This game is broken, I don’t want to play anymore!” they shake their hands, say well played, and then go back and work harder to make sure that next time, they will be better prepared to push all the way. It doesn’t just apply to the greats. At all sports, at all levels, people push themselves to be the best they can. Those that work hardest, win the most.

Chess, just like other great sports like football (either type) rugby, tennis, basketball, is also played in a game setting; teams of friends play together just for the sake of it. It may be a game, but if you want to be good, you go home and practice first, so you can beat the guys that didn’t. Just think about that feeling. The feeling that you prepared your plays, you studied your opponents for weaknesses, you worked out how to exploit them. And then when you played your game, you won, not because of luck, but through hard work. There is no feeling quite like it. That is a sport. If you want to be really good at a sport you have to work hard, and when you get good you have to work even harder. Sport is unforgiving, unrelenting and will challenge you to your core. That is why those who can succeed where most fail are held up as champions.

Does that mean that Chess cannot be played casually between friends? Only if Basketball, Baseball, Football, Darts, Pool or any other sport cannot be, which of course they are. The best players will almost always win these casual games. When you pick teams, you fight over who gets first pick so you can get all the best players so you can win. Those with natural talent and those who have practised before hand usually win, but I doubt you will find anyone to say that these sports are broken or unfair.


2. Chess as art

We all get given them as kids, those water colour paint boxes, all bright, with two or three pristine paintbrushes. We go off, we paint a while. We show our parents the fruits of our labours and they exclaim “Oh what a lovely dog!” You star back in disbelief “It’s a tractor, mummy.” You spent hours painting hard, you covered the old shirt you were wearing backwards as an apron in brightly coloured spots. Yet no-one could tell what it was. Sound familiar? Is the paint box broken? What about the brushes? Is painting unfair?
With the same tools, paints and brushes, Van Gogh created Sunflowers. Does that mean that painting is broken and unfair because Picasso created a masterpiece, while I created what may or may not be a farmyard animal given exactly the same tools? Of course not. They are geniuses. I am not. What they created, along with Da Vinci and Raphael and Boticelli are beautiful works of art. My cow is pretty good, but not in the same league.

The only thing that really matters is how I react to this. I could give up painting, declare it broken, and declare the art world suffers from ‘analysis paralysis’ as each brushstroke of every painting is examined over and over by art scholars. Or I could accept that I will never be that good, that there will always be someone better than me. In fact I really enjoy painting, even so, and I take great pleasure in creating something from very simple tools.

In Chess, both sides start with sixteen identical men. Their starting points are identical, the only, (Very very very VERY) slight advantage is that white moves first. With these tools I can probably create the Chess equivalent of a reasonable cow. And I feel pretty good when its eyes aren’t too close together and all the legs are the same length. Yet with the EXACT same sixteen men, with EXACTLY the same rules, Fischer could create a Mona Lisa, Kasparov a Last Supper, Morphy a Sunflowers. Chess games that are played well are so achingly beautiful they are like ballet, a dance of intricate steps that goes to a simple beat. Just as with a painting, if you know where to look, there are subtleties and brilliancies that are almost beyond description.

No one looks at the Chapel roof in Vatican and thinks, I could do that given the same tools. Yet gamers often feel that they should be able to play brilliant games of chess from the off. In painting, the rules are simple, just apply paint, I can create a masterpiece in no time. Doesn’t that sound just a little bit ridiculous to you?

3. Chess as a conflict

Chess is a war game. The court room setting of Knights, Kings, Queens and Bishops was applied to appeal to medieval courtiers in Europe as they brought the game from the Middle East during the crusades. At that time, Kings, Bishops, Knights and yes even Queens took to the battle field. Pawns are foot soldiers. Rooks (probably a derivation from a Germanic word Ruque meaning castle) are defensive towers or fortifications. When the game was first introduced, the queens movement was very different, she could only limp around one square diagonally.

As in real war, there are no ‘hit points’, one blow and your down, from anybody. A pawn can kill a queen. Doesn’t matter who you are, a sword is a sword and they tend to be fatal. There is no rolling of dice to determine range, armour, attack value or any other attribute. You have one life. If a bishop comes running up the board you cannot dodge, he kills you and takes your position on the battle field.

This feels about as close to a real medieval battle ground as you can get, brutal, savage and unforgiving. I admit that it is abstract, but so is every other game on this site. All games are an abstraction of real life, that is what they are designed to be. In most games, two counters move together, both players roll dice, the highest wins. While a simplification, the same principle applies to every board game. Roll dice, highest wins. The fact that the tokens maybe called Trolls, Jet Fighters, Zombies, Gladiators or Barbie’s makes no difference to the concept. To argue that Chess is an abstract based on the fact that the pieces can be substituted for any other theme if correct, means that all other games are abstracts. I can think of about 20 different themes for Twilight Imperium right now of the top of my head that would use exactly the same rules and settings, just different pictures and pieces.

Chess has also evolved as warfare has since the game began. The queens and rooks expanded their movement to represent the power and range of cannon and artillery, the pawns gained the ability to take two steps on their first move to increase the speed of battle. En-passent to prevent pawns taking two steps forward to avoid capture. The act of castling signifies the act of the king moving into his castle for defence.

Chess is a game of war.

4. Chess vs. Poker.

There is a big debate in the UK at the moment. Due to a surge in the popularity of Poker, many bars and clubs have sprung up offering gambling poker nights. Unfortunately this falls foul of gambling legislation that states that premises must be licensed to run games of luck. Not many would argue about roulette or craps, but Poker? Surely there is some skill there? One landlord went to court and argued that since the top players won all the time, surely Poker was a game of skill and not luck, and I would tend to agree. Playing Poker without money is a dull game. Really dull. And pure luck, the best hand wins every time. But introduce money and it morphs into a game of skill. Bluff and counter bluff. However, there is still luck involved as to what cards you are dealt. What you do with those cards is the skill. So, luck and skill combined. But still a game based on luck. Even the most skilled Poker player cannot beat a Royal Flush. The Judge thought along similar lines and closed the landlords club down.

In Chess there is no luck. None. There is no hidden information. You and your opponent can see EVERYTHING. There are no dice rolls, no cards to be dealt, no last minute special powers. You cannot deceive you opponent in any way, you can do nothing in secret except your own plans in your head. If you set a trap (s)he will see it on the board if (s)he looks hard enough. And so will you. People will always ask themselves in Chess “What am I not seeing?” The answer is nothing. You can see everything that relates to the game. You know exactly what your opponent can do. He knows exactly what you can do. Apart from draughts (checkers) I know of no other major game like that. No dice, just pieces. If you wanted you can bet as much as you like on Chess games in the UK. Pure skill. Your skill matched against your opponents. If you loose it won’t be because (s)he got better cards, or got a string of 6’s. You lost because (s)he is better. That hurts. No referee to blame for a poor decision, no weather conditions to blame. Nothing but your own shortcomings.

If you don’t like losing, stick to games like Poker. If you loose you can say things like, the cards were against you, or the ref missed that foul on me or they were probably cheating. There is no hiding place in Chess. I admit that I am not always comfortable with that thought, but look at the other extreme, Snakes and Ladders. Pure luck. It is about who rolls the right number at the right time. How do you feel if you win Snakes and Ladders? You feel good, right, but it feels very hollow.

Now imagine how it feels to win a game of pure skill. 

5. The Social Impact of Chess

There are many milestones in life. The first time you crawl, the first time you walk, the first time you ride your bike without stabilisers, the first time you score a goal or hit a home run. Maybe this will resonate more with the guys than the girls, but what about the first time you beat your Dad at Chess? Not beat him because he let you win, or let you take back moves or let you switch sides halfway through (and even then he usually still won!) but actually beat him. He taught you the game, he bought you your first set for Christmas and he used to pound you all day long. He showed you tricks and tactics and then he knew you would use them so he would avoid them and pound you again. You hated him for it, maybe you would cry and say the game is broken, you would vow never to play again. Yet you still would. It’s a right of passage to beat your Dad at Chess. Not Puerto Rico, not Shadow Over Camelot and not Arkham Horror, three of the greatest games on geek.

When you play these games you gain an insight into your friends. Some hoard. They hoard resources, they hoard gold or they hoard cards. Some are aggressive. They always attack regardless. When you play Chess you are playing against every aspect of that person. How aggressive they are, what they are afraid of, what they are willing to sacrifice and what they desperately will hang onto at all costs. Chess is the only game that holds a mirror to you and says “This is the type of person you are.” You cannot pretend to be more aggressive or more cautious than you are. You can learn how to overcome your natural game, but that is not the same thing. Are you patient or lethargic? Are you aggressive or reckless? What do you value; possessions or position? Every player will play each game in different way but his fundamental personality will shine through like a beacon. Each style is unique in the same way that a sportsmen and artists are unique

So, why might you hate Chess?

Perhaps because it is a game of pure skill, that if you loose, there is nothing to blame but yourself.
Perhaps because you feel that the rules are so simple, anyone can understand. That anybody should be able to create fantastic games and that it is unfair that some can while others can’t.
Perhaps because if you want to be good, you have to work at your strategy and tactics, you must analyse your opponents beforehand to look for weaknesses and exploit them. Perhaps because better players almost always beat weaker players because Chess is not a game, but a sport.
Perhaps because the strategy runs deep, that every time you make a move you could be falling into an unseen trap, or making a blunder from which you will never recover.
Perhaps because you feel it is unfair that someone can win if they have less pieces on the board that numbers alone do not give victory.
Perhaps because there is no resource gathering or re-enforcement, or you think it unfair that a lowly pawn has an attack strength great enough to kill the queen.
Perhaps because Chess is the fairest game of all; your skill against hers, your personality against hers, your style against hers, your preparation, practice and tactics against hers.
Perhaps because a game of Chess will show you who you are at your most fundamental level.

And why should you love chess?

See Above List






A Footnote:
I have used many other games as examples in this text. I have played, and continued to play every one of them. They are all great games and I am sure I will play them many times in the future. I am not saying Chess is better, or worse than any of them, I merely use them to illustrate my points.
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Michael Kandrac
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Excellent! You have nailed the reasons why the greatest competitive boardgame in the world is relegated to 2nd tier status on a website dedicated to boardgames.

Gg
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Jorge Montero
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Chess can show you who you are at your most fundamental level? Give me a break.

I've played a lot of chess. I've played in tournaments. I've played online. Even after 10 years of no training whatsoever, I am pretty even with Chessmaster and Fritz when set at 1600 in 30 minute games. I never went much further because I refused to do truly serious study.

Using chess as a prism to view life is something that I've seen young men do. Those young men end up forgetting that life is all about dealing with uncertainty, forming relationships, and realizing that life is not a single minded pursuit to compare yourself to everyone else.

You love the game? sure, go right ahead, but be realistic and see the game's limitations. Pointless rhetoric about Chess perceived magnificence will only show that, just like in chess, you are seeing life in black and white.
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Jarratt Davis
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Actually... I hate chess because I keep losing the dice and can never work out what card to play next when it's my turn.

Insightful and well written review btw, although I have to agree in part with what the above poster has said.
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Ian Cooper
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Regarding 'chess as a sport', I have to say that it can be, but it can also be a game. Sure, lots of people treat chess very seriously and train for years honing their skill - to these people it's a sport. But to others it can be a game. There's nothing 'forcing' everyone to consider chess a sport - we don't have to think of it that way. To me chess is a game. Since I have a 3 year-old daughter I just don't have time to think of it in a more serious way. Besides, for me 'chess as a sport' is a somewhat depressing way of approaching it. After all, you can never truly master chess - the true best strategies are beyond human comprehension. If you get to be the best you can master other players, at least for a while, but you never truly master the game, and besides, the light goes out of even the great chess players' game, and other players come along to knock them off their pedestal. The mental strain of chess and the fear of losing has unhinged many a great chess intellect. Then there's the years - decades even - of study to become good, and no guarantee of becoming great however hard you study it. There are a great many downsides to 'chess as a sport', but when chess is a game you don't need to study - you just roll out a board at the corner cafe or challenge your wife to a game. If you lose a game it's no big deal. If you lose at a sport you lose a lot in terms of time and energy wasted.

As for showing who you are at the most fundamental level, all I can do is point to Albert Einstein - fantastic intellect, horrible chess player. Chess shows you how good a chess player you are, end of story.

One more thing to think about: if you spend years training to be great at chess, to the exclusion of other things, have you mastered chess or has chess mastered you?

I'd rather use chess for fun than be a slave to it.
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Daniel Danzer
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hmmm ...

well ...

I think I can see, what you mean.

But I don`t quite understand, why Chess (FIDE / western chess) should be so outstanding, all alone, monumental, monolithic ...

You now, there are more very old, real aesthetic, no-luck etc. games out there, with tournaments, literature and all.

XiangQi e.g., is the most played game in the world, and has not changed its rules for at least a thousand years. It`s more "balanced" (no queen, etc.), more open, but still with the same depth, I think. I like it better. It`s not that popular in the WHOLE world like chess, but then we talk about historical issues and not qualities of the game itself.

And how about Go?

hmmm ... well ...

I think, what I don`t hate, but actually don`t like about Chess is, that it seems so arrogant (similar to microsoft, if you know what I mean ) To be THE ONE and only for all times. But as you stated, they changed rules rather often and fixed problems with moves, and en-passant and a queen that is so over-powerful and wandering towers are NOT like in a real battle ...
Check XiangQi for better "battle transformed in an abstract"-solutions.

Of course, arrogance is not a quality of the game but of some gamers. There is a lack of humility, I think, sometimes, ...

BTW, this is not really a review , is it ... ?

Peace,

Daniel
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Ian Cooper
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hibikir wrote:
Using chess as a prism to view life is something that I've seen young men do. Those young men end up forgetting that life is all about dealing with uncertainty, forming relationships, and realizing that life is not a single minded pursuit to compare yourself to everyone else...


Wish I'd read that before writing down my thoughts. I couldn't have put it better. Well said!
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Ian Cooper
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duchamp wrote:
Of course, arrogance is not a quality of the game but of some gamers. There is a lack of humility, I think, sometimes, ...


I think the word 'Patzer' sums up all I dislike about chess. There's an arrogant sort of chess player who refers to others as 'patzers' as if they've failed some fundamental test, when in fact all they've done is refuse to allow chess to overwhelm their lives. Those who call other players 'patzers' may be good chess players but more importantly they're bad sports. No one likes a bad loser, but these folks are bad winners, which is infinitely worse.

So it's not the game I dislike - it's the way some people are corrupted by the need to excel at it, and the way these folks will only view others as worthy of respect (not just worthy of respect as chess players) if they have a chess rating of 1800, or 2000, etc.

I think that to a lot of people all the bull$hit behind chess just turns them off the game. Some boardgames have the same problem - Diplomacy for example. When you get to the top levels of competition you have to deal with an almost megalomaniac arrogance.
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Andrew Stratton
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hibikir wrote:
Chess can show you who you are at your most fundamental level? Give me a break.

I've played a lot of chess. I've played in tournaments. I've played online. Even after 10 years of no training whatsoever, I am pretty even with Chessmaster and Fritz when set at 1600 in 30 minute games. I never went much further because I refused to do truly serious study.

Using chess as a prism to view life is something that I've seen young men do. Those young men end up forgetting that life is all about dealing with uncertainty, forming relationships, and realizing that life is not a single minded pursuit to compare yourself to everyone else.

You love the game? sure, go right ahead, but be realistic and see the game's limitations. Pointless rhetoric about Chess perceived magnificence will only show that, just like in chess, you are seeing life in black and white.


This is the kind of comment bitter old men write, as they have long forgotton that life is about saying what you feel and living for the moment.

Only Joking

Firstly, I was not trying to use Chess to view life. I play for pleasure and although I read a few books I wouldn't say I was a slave to it or anything. I was trying to show non chess players that if they automatically dismiss chess as 'broken' thay are missing out on the best game out there.

Secondly, of course there is life outside of chess. I even have a family and everything.

Thirdly, it is in mans nature to compete, even you yourself are competeing with your "I can play Fritz at 1600" line. Of course life is about how we relate to each other and how react to those around us. But I was talking about even more fundemental personality traits. Aggressive peoople play aggressive chess, cautious people play cautious chess, as just one example.

I guess I was trying to inspire some non believers into thinking they might be missing something!

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Andrew Stratton
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duchamp wrote:

I think I can see, what you mean.

But I don`t quite understand, why Chess (FIDE / western chess) should be so outstanding, all alone, monumental, monolithic ...

You now, there are more very old, real aesthetic, no-luck etc. games out there, with tournaments, literature and all.

XiangQi e.g., is the most played game in the world, and has not changed its rules for at least a thousand years. It`s more "balanced" (no queen, etc.), more open, but still with the same depth, I think. I like it better. It`s not that popular in the WHOLE world like chess, but then we talk about historical issues and not qualities of the game itself.

And how about Go?

Of course, arrogance is not a quality of the game but of some gamers. There is a lack of humility, I think, sometimes, ...

BTW, this is not really a review , is it ... ?


Hey Daniel,
Must admit, I didn't know about XiangQi, have to check it out.
I do like Go as well, but I still prefer chess, just a preference. Perhaps because chess feels more like a battle to me. Not sure why though!

Arrogance, sure why not. I am an okay player, and I certainly try and win every game I play. But I was not trying to say "Chess is the Greatest thing Ever Invented" I was trying to say "Hey gamers, you see chess as broken, I think you might be missing something!" Everything I have said is why I love Chess the game. I also love all the other games I mentioned but they have plenty of people fighting their corner all ready

Fair point; its not really a review!

Andrew
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Andrew Stratton
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Beery wrote:
duchamp wrote:
Of course, arrogance is not a quality of the game but of some gamers. There is a lack of humility, I think, sometimes, ...


I think the word 'Patzer' sums up all I dislike about chess. There's an arrogant sort of chess player who refers to others as 'patzers' as if they've failed some fundamental test, when in fact all they've done is refuse to allow chess to overwhelm their lives. Those who call other players 'patzers' may be good chess players but more importantly they're bad sports. No one likes a bad loser, but these folks are bad winners, which is infinitely worse.


Cannot agree more. Bad winning is part of all boardgames, but I suppose it is particularly bad in chess, which is a real shame.
 
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Daniel Danzer
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Quote:
you see chess as broken, I think you might be missing something


I don`t think this is the predominant opinion here. Obviously it is not "broken" in the sense, that there is a sure winning strategy, once you solved the "problem".

Very interesting are the "peronal comments" of people who gave it a bad ranking. Some of the most points against chess are
- the bunch of specialized literature,
- it`s "overrated",
- arrogant chess nerds and
- some bad experiences as a kid.

So, nothing about the game itself. In the case of chess people are just confronted with a game that is not their "cup of tea". With other games they don`t like they will never be confronted with, so they never rank them. But they give chess a ranking.

That`s IMHO what effects the "bad ranking" (#188 is not sooo bad).

I gave it an 8.

I love my grandfather`s chessmen from the 19th century. One more reason to love it.


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Ian Cooper
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duchamp wrote:
Very interesting are the "peronal comments" of people who gave it a bad ranking. Some of the most points against chess are
- the bunch of specialized literature,
- it`s "overrated",
- arrogant chess nerds and
- some bad experiences as a kid.


I hadn't rated chess, but I just went over there and gave it a 10 rating. I really do think it's worthy of a 10. I was shocked to see it only got an average rating of 7.1. That seems way too low to me. I think you're right - some folks are rating it based on the players they've run into and not on an objective assessment of the game itself. But then again I did the same when I rated Diplomacy lower than the game itself might deserve (Diplomacy players can be really annoying).

I guess maybe the players we're likely to meet when playing the game might be a fair criterion when evaluating the game - after all your opponent is part of the game. Hmmm - maybe I need to re-evaluate that 10 I gave to chess.
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Jeremy Carlson
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I like chess, but I hate the study. Which is why I loooove Navia Dratp. Takes away all the preparation.

I think a better way to play chess is to play with Fischer's rules. Now a lot of that study goes into the crapper. I personally think this is the better way to see if you are actually good at Chess rather than memorization.
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Daniel Danzer
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Then you could try Shogi (if you didn`t yet). The "japanese chess" Navia Dratp is derived from. There you can also promote pieces and use captured pieces as yours ...
 
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Brian Hamilton
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A fun fact most people don't know is that chess in some stages of development used dice. The # rolled was the piece you were allowed to move.

The Bishop used to only be able to move only 3 spots diagonally instead of the now unlimited

I recently read "The History of The Game" which is all about chess history.


When I first came to this site I was surprised to find chess even though it is obviously a board game. Even more so people trying to REVIEW it. It seems like more than a game to me.

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Ian Cooper
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Sometimes I think of chess as a sort of malignant force - especially when I look at all the grandmasters who have lost their marbles. I often wonder if chess drives people nuts or if it's more a case of nutty people being drawn to chess. The game does seem to have more than its fair share of wacko ex-grand masters though.
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Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
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As an avid chessplayer with (at one point) a FIDE rating of over 2000, I can understand why BGG people are sometimes turned off of the game. Me, I rate it a 10, but:

1. It's 2-players only.
When we've got 10 minutes before everyone else shows up, we'll bust out the chess set and clock and play some blitz games, but it's not a game that a group can get around. And it's not a game I can play with my spouse or kids.

2. To be seriously competitive requires more of a life investment than virtually any other "game." Because there is so much literature readily available and because of the depth of modern opening theory, you REALLY need to study chess for a decade or so to be competitive at the national level. An article in Scientific American (link: www dot sciam dot com/article.cfm?articleID=00010347-101C-14C1-8F9E83414B7F4945&ref=sciam&chanID=sa006) discusses the importance of years of study to recognize patterns and therefore develop skill at chess. A sort of "training trumps talent" theory.

3. There are other, better chess-specific outlets for chess fans to congregate. Serious chess players spend their time playing chess. They don't have huge game collections and play tons of multiplayer games. They play chess (and for some reason occasionally bridge). So chess players don't really hang out at BGG. So the large chunk of people (some 80,000 active USCF members) who might rate chess a 10, aren't here.
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out4blood wrote:
...Serious chess players spend their time playing chess. They don't have huge game collections and play tons of multiplayer games...


This was a major driving force for me deciding against pursuing chess as a serious endeavour. I just couldn't see committing to years of giving up reading novels, watching TV, going to sci-fi conventions, other boardgame-playing pursuits and all the other hobbies that chess could so easily swallow up.

I often wonder if all those GMs who've gone nuts didn't do so because they saw into a sort of Cthulthic void that may exist beyond the boundary of chess knowledge, but rather because they suddenly realised that their entire life had been swallowed up in meaningless pursuit of mastery over a single game.
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Brian Hamilton
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Beery wrote:
Sometimes I think of chess as a sort of malignant force - especially when I look at all the grandmasters who have lost their marbles. I often wonder if chess drives people nuts or if it's more a case of nutty people being drawn to chess. The game does seem to have more than its fair share of wacko ex-grand masters though.


there was a whole chapter in The History of The Game that I mentioned above about grandmasters going crazy -It's a fast interesting read I recommend it-


When all you do is study the game is just sucks you in

 
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Ian Cooper
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Thanks for the recommendation. I'll look out for it. On the subject of book recommendations, I often find it hard to find books on chess history (most bookshelves on the subject seem to be taken up with tactical manuals with titles like "The Sicilian Gambit: or how I learned to leave my wife and fall in love with my chess pieces", but I recently read 'The Immortal Game' and 'The Chess Artist' - I enjoyed both of them very much.
 
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John Lopez
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hughthehand wrote:
I like chess, but I hate the study. Which is why I loooove Navia Dratp. Takes away all the preparation.

I think a better way to play chess is to play with Fischer's rules. Now a lot of that study goes into the crapper. I personally think this is the better way to see if you are actually good at Chess rather than memorization.


Elimination of the opening book is a great thing.
 
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Steve Bernhardt
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hibikir wrote:
Chess can show you who you are at your most fundamental level? Give me a break.

I've played a lot of chess. I've played in tournaments. I've played online. Even after 10 years of no training whatsoever, I am pretty even with Chessmaster and Fritz when set at 1600 in 30 minute games. I never went much further because I refused to do truly serious study.

Using chess as a prism to view life is something that I've seen young men do. Those young men end up forgetting that life is all about dealing with uncertainty, forming relationships, and realizing that life is not a single minded pursuit to compare yourself to everyone else.

You love the game? sure, go right ahead, but be realistic and see the game's limitations. Pointless rhetoric about Chess perceived magnificence will only show that, just like in chess, you are seeing life in black and white.


So, being obsessional about chess doesn't reveal something about your personality? You are contradicting yourself here.

Its fairly common to talk about games being somehow transformational, or how they reveal character traits; check out any movie like Rudy or Field of Dreams.... or Searching for Bobby Fischer.

Play a dozen games of chess with me and you will get an idea how I approach problems in other games, your personality really does come through at times. Of course, its hard to generalize beyond seeing how I handle adversity, or if I can stomach risk.
 
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James Davis
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Beery wrote:
duchamp wrote:
Very interesting are the "peronal comments" of people who gave it a bad ranking. Some of the most points against chess are
- the bunch of specialized literature,
- it`s "overrated",
- arrogant chess nerds and
- some bad experiences as a kid.


I hadn't rated chess, but I just went over there and gave it a 10 rating. I really do think it's worthy of a 10. I was shocked to see it only got an average rating of 7.1. That seems way too low to me. I think you're right - some folks are rating it based on the players they've run into and not on an objective assessment of the game itself. But then again I did the same when I rated Diplomacy lower than the game itself might deserve (Diplomacy players can be really annoying).

I guess maybe the players we're likely to meet when playing the game might be a fair criterion when evaluating the game - after all your opponent is part of the game. Hmmm - maybe I need to re-evaluate that 10 I gave to chess.


Well the Rating system is based on how willing you are to play a game. So many factors come into this. Thats why you get so many of the reasons stated above.

I rate it a 7 which i think is pretty generous. I enjoy playing vs my brother in law, but its not something I would give my life up for. Which to fully play chess you have to do. Which is kind of sad. Games are supposed to be fun not a chore.

I remember back in school every english class when we went down to the library I would play this guy in chess. He played in tournaments and stuff and would flog me everytime we played. One day I decided to stop trying a strategy and just play randomly, he had never witnessed this before and put him off, I won the game.

For being on the outside of chess looking into it. When you get to high levels of Chess it is memory over anything else. The game takes great skill but in trying to be the best the game has lost its way. If you have to study literature and lots of stuff to be the best rather than playing the game and getting better, it isnt much of a game anymore. I will refuse to call chess a sport, it is a lifestyle.

This is a just a rambling from someone who is outside of the elite chess circle.
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Christopher Marx
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jamesdavis wrote:
I enjoy playing vs my brother in law, but its not something I would give my life up for. Which to fully play chess you have to do. Which is kind of sad. Games are supposed to be fun not a chore.


My life has been immeasurably improved by ignoring the artificial social construct that divides "work" from "fun." The ubiquity of this fallacy in society is the product of severely twisted educational policy IMHO. The problem is, from within this mental framework, changing ones outlook, letting go of the baggage that prevents us from finding joy in everything we do, is too much "work." It is a brilliantly concieved and executed psychological trap that devolves into mental stagnation, consumerism, and depression.

I've tried to edit the preceding paragraph down to something reasonable but, I apologize if it is still too vitriolic. It's not aimed at you personaly. My frustratrion is directed at the hopelessly misguided people who set out to create this system.

So, to get back on topic: How can you say that the people who have "given their life up" to play chess are NOT having fun? Surely you don't think that people who are very good a chess have no other goals or dreams? Even Kasparov, one of the greatest, if not the greatest, chess player ever is higly involved in political protest.

Also I don't understand the assertion about "fully" playing chess. What do you mean by this? Are you suggesting that games are better if they are more quickly mastered? You would agree that two people playing chess by the correct rules (maybe with the addition of clocks) are playing the full game, regardless of their level of play, correct? When a GM plays 100 games simultaneously who is or is not playing chess "fully" in that situation?

With a few months of casual study and practice one can easily reach a level of play where you can understand what is happening on the board and play well enough to not make serious blunders. Of course, if you want to be as good as you can be at chess that will take significantly more time, and you will have to match the study and preparation done by those who find the study and practice (and work) of improving enjoyable, but how is this a flaw? How is this "sad?"
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