Thursday, June 19, 2008

Chess is...

“…like a swordfight. You must think first, before you move.”
Many different people have compared many different things to chess. It has been compared to war and to politics and to life in general. In all these activities, the latter being most important of all, it is important to think before you act. It truly does teach the mind to think in advance, three or four steps down the line.

“…a work of art between minds, which need to balance two sometimes disparate goals—to win, and to produce beauty.”
In my case I’m going to compare it to correspondence between two people. Gone now are the days of letter writing, which was a far more personal and intimate way to communicate. It took time and required thought. An email can fill the void only if carefully thought about and planned like a letter. No one takes the time anymore to craft words into a response. That’s why a good conversation is hard to find these days, but even more valuable. Ours is like that I feel. When you write, you know what you want to hear from me, your questions are loaded. Just like one moving the pieces on a chessboard, you have a plan. I know your game, though, because I am playing it too. We both have our reasons for it, whatever they may be.

“...a game in which you only gain skill by facing a more skilled opponent.”
A student will never learn from another student the insights and subtleties needed to succeed in a game like chess, or like the one you and I play on our computers. I am your subordinate and you are my superior. I am, however, catching on quickly and thinking that I quite like your game. So, you see, chess is like our conversations, each move carefully analyzed to let out just a little information, but not too much. When I try to throw you off my trail, I only seem to find myself exactly in the position I believe you wanted me to be in. You may have the upper hand now, my dear, but like I said, I’m catching on quickly.

Because I like you

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