Monday, June 28, 2010

Reasons to hate chess

Not Drowning, Mothering is, it turns out, a rather popular Australian blog chronicling the adventures of "one woman, three children, a husband & an unreasonably angry cat" - and its author seriously hates chess.

And, at least some of her reasons for doing so are undoubtedly true. "Chess is upsetting" - true. "Chess is time-consuming" - yup. Clocking up years over here. "Chess is boring" - sometimes, certainly. On the other hand, "Chess is thinly-disguised classist propaganda" and "Chess is misogynistic" I'm less convinced about, whilst "Chess is a game of strategy" is debatable. Still, nonetheless, most people don't voluntarily dedicate hours of their spare time to something upsetting, time-consuming and intermittently boring. And I do. We do.

Readers, the question of today is as follows. Why do we do this thing called chess to ourselves?


ejh said...

Well, obsession would be one answer, or fascination a kinder one, and one could suggest that sequences of chess moves have a particular ability to stay in the head and bother one. Perhaps it's true that chess, being a simple game, sets us a task that we know we can achieve, but being at the same time impossibly difficult, we can never quite manage it. I have a couple of goals in chess - one, to win a tournament, the other, to beat an International Master, and my claim to myself is that if I achieve both of these then I can essentially give up playing seriously, which would be good for me. But whether I actually believe that, I don't know.

At some time in the future I may write a series of posts under the general rubric of "is chess good for us?". I doubt very much that it is. But then again, I think the same about drinking beer.

Chris Morgan said...

Well, as Hans Ree said,
'Chess is beautiful enough to waste your life for', but I'm devoting hardly any time to studying these days, admitting that I'm never going to devote the time to be really that good, if I ever could be. I'm just enjoying the odd tactics solving session and playing matches, picking up the odd tip from my losses that may help me improve slightly.
A game of chess can be a very hard workout for the mind, but the competition can set off a rush of adrenaline, and just as a workout for the body can be painful at the time, you'll feel good afterwards - especially if you win!

Jonathan B said...

Why do we do this? Because playing chess - like wearing a fez or a bow tie - is cool.

Jason Williams said...

Because it's awesome the struggle the defeat, the victory, seeing things no one else would see the game is awesome. Now if you want sadistic, You have to play Poker My true demon. It has all the downsides of chess but oh yeah you can still lose even if you play perfectly!

Anonymous said...

I wonder what she thinks about Darts.


The NDM (of Not Drowning, Mothering) said...

In answer to George the Anonymous' comment, I avoid darts because I'm convinced that someone will lose an eye.