Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chess? Chess is Chess...

At the very top of my very long list of Things That I Just Don't Buy, are books claiming chess is somehow not just chess. Chess is life, life is like chess, chess is business, the business of chess is the chess of life, chess is checkers for grownups, chess is Snakes & Ladders with science, chess is the board game of the spheres, Chess is a musical, whatever. It's just not true. Chess is chess.

But now New in Chess announce the arrival of Football & Chess: Space, Timing and the Similarities Between Cruyff and Capablanca, by Adam Wells. Here's the top and tail of the editorial description:
Why are football and chess 'beautiful games'?

Why do football commentators use so often chess terms to describe a football match?

Do top football coaches read the pitch as a chess player reads the board?

What is the connection between Jose Mourinho's defensive cunning and Grandmaster Wilhelm Steinitz's 'principles of defence'?

... Readers will see how chess can be a pulsating, dynamic game, whilst appreciating that football shares much of the mystery and structural beauty of the world's greatest board game.

Well, I told you right at the kick-off of this post that I just don't buy it, and my initial position remains - I'm just not going to buy it; to me, the very idea is as much an own goal as Fool's Mate is. Or, I wonder, do readers think that am I blowing the whistle too early on this idea, prematurely resigning myself to dismissing it? After all, the two played together on this very blog ever so recently...

Maybe, maybe not. Anyone tempted to take a long-shot and gambit their cash on the book?

PS. Connoisseurs of publishing industry intrigues will note that the book is published by Hardinge Simpole, yet their website currently seems to deny all knowledge.


ejh said...

Well, as football and chess are the two subjects which I've consistently been paid to write about*, I imagine I ought to read it. Though if it starts drawing parallels too closely or too crudely I shall put it down pretty quickly.

Anonymous said...

I haven't time to read the book but
from now on ( to be a good sport )I will only play chess when wearing boxing gloves and football boots.
Football is like chess - do me a favour.
Actually my chess is more like skiing, down hill all the bloody way.
David Bentley

Jonathan B said...

Chess, Swiss Toni writes, is very much like making love to a beautiful woman.

ejh said...

I did read a Leonard Barden column once where he started comparing the position to a football game (and not a chess game as I wrote previously).

Tom Chivers said...

Very unusual for a journalist to compare a chess game to a chess game. Out of the box stuff!

Jonathan B said...

Chess, D'Angelo writes, is very much like

dealing drugs

ejh said...

It's like a box of chocolates.

You're always choosing the wrong one.

Anonymous said...

Chess is like a bowl of All-Bran. You wake up in the morning and it's there!

Tom Chivers said...

A little note; according to amazon the book has a different subtitle, viz Football and Chess: Tactics Strategy Beauty.

Tom Chivers said...

Here is an analogy involving chess I do actually like:

"Debating creationists on the topic of evolution is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon; it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory."

- Scott D. Weitzenhoffer