Why should you play chess?!
Chess is a mind-sport, an ancient and popular game. It is played and appreciated all over the world. Yet a beginner or a non-player may ask that, ‘why should I play chess’? In this article we will try to find the answer.
A science and an art!
Chess is more than just a sport. It’s a game that utilizes the principles of both Science and Art. That it is a science is very obvious as it follows certain norms and rules which govern the movement and value of each piece, e.g., in certain positions, mathematical calculations comes into play. Some of our past world champions were mathematicians or engineers. But chess is also an art. When a game between two masters is so fascinating that several succeeding generations find delight in it even after a 100 or 200 years, then game ceases to be just a game and becomes a piece of art. That is how two of the past games of Anderssen (a legendary chess player) have been titled as ‘the immortal’ and ‘the evergreen’.
A cure for depression
Chess can be a perfect cure for depression, better than any pills invented so far. Our modern life styles are unfortunately full of frustrations and stress. A number of human beings suffer from ‘paranoia’ often imaginary. The only area where paranoia actually helps mankind is at the chessboard. The chess brain is bombarded with several different plausible replies, but in effect a player has to select only ONE. This, in effect is the key to fighting frustrations and depressions.
The AGONY and the ECSTASY
In a nutshell, we have the agony of intense study, preparations and practice that the difficult game demands, the agony of nerve-racking calculations at every single move; then there is agony of the bitter taste of defeat, especially when the game was practically won. And finally the agony of conflicts and disruptions in one’s daily routine (especially for non-professional chess players), culminating in the worst friction ever of neglect of one’s family life. All these agonies are beyond comparison.
Why then do chess players the world over continue to play chess?
That’s because the agony is amply balanced by an overwhelming amount of ecstasy that the game brings. In yester-years chess didn’t bring money or fame as it does today. A chess player inspite of all odds was compelled to play chess. Who compelled him? It is the yearning of his soul, crying out to bask in this ecstatic delight. Chess legend Tarrasch has compared chess with powerful pursuits as love and music, and rightly so.
Chess players in life behave exactly as they behave on the chess board, e.g., the bold ones take risks, timid ones are too conservative and some bad ones might try nonsense. It’s not only your mind, but your complete personality that plays chess. So, now many of you should know where you stand and probably know what to do to change for good.
The qualities that chess implants
It pains me to say that many people are under the delusion that chess is sheer waste of time, not realizing that there is a plethora of excellent qualities that anyone can imbibe through chess. For example, the qualities of intellect, such as memory, concentration, judgement and foresight. Then the qualities of leadership, co-ordination, courage to take short term risks for long term gains. Then the qualities of heart, such as patience, perseverance, adaptability, economy and other qualities. Lastly qualities such as tact, strategy, initiative and resourcefulness. Oh! The list is endless!
Lastly we sum up everything with some famous quotes…
‘ Life is like a game of chess; we draw up a plan; this plan, however is conditional on what - in chess, our opponent - in life, our fate, will choose to do.’
- Artur Schopenhauer
‘He acts most wisely who makes his plan with caution, recognizing that any on toward event may occur.’
‘Theory looks well on paper, but doesn’t amount to anything without practice.’
‘When you attain the way of strategy, there will not be one thing that you cannot see.’
– Miyamoto Musashi
‘People do not lack strength, they lack will.’ – Victor Hugo
‘We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. Yet it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents as well.’
– Bruce Lee
Copyright 2003, Chaturangam Chess Club, CRSCE Murthal.