Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Know thyself... Chess anyone?

All I want to do, ever, is just play chess.  Bobby Fischer
Chess is a fairy tale of 1001 blunders.  Tartakower
Chess is mental torture.  Garry Ksporov

There was a time that I wanted to learn to play chess. I was captivated by the aesthetic appearance of the game-- the beautiful pieces that moved in different directions; the fairy tale quality of kings, knights and castles, and white versus black.  I am smart and tend to be an overachiever so I didn't see any reason why I couldn't play the game.  After all I taught myself how to paint and draw and all sorts of things from  books-- chess should be a breeze.

I did what I always did then when I wanted to know something, I went to the library. (the pre-Google resource center.) I checked out books on playing chess and studied them; I learned how the pieces moved, how to open with the queen's gambit, and how to castle the king.  I picked up a chess board and taught my children how to play so I could have opponents. Much to my chagrin, I was was soundly beaten. By little kids.  Every. Single. Time. 

The thing that I didn't fully understand is that chess is game of strategy. A player needs to have an idea of the possible outcomes of her move before she even touches a piece. I always drew a blank on that.  I could have taken the pieces and written a story of magic, beauty and rescuing royalty, or I could have designed a unique chess set, but in playing the game I couldn't defend a two inch plastic king.

It never occurred to me until recently--as in last night as I was going to bed-- that left-brained dominant players would succeed more easily at chess than I did, because of their ability to process math, logic, and strategy. Using my phone before I went to sleep, I went to Google (the post-library resource center) and found that this theory is true.  I am an artist--right brained. If you looked at my life you would see my strategy skills are pretty pathetic and flights of imagination interfere with any tactical abilities I might have to engage successfully in any situation. 

However, I learned in my late night research, that had I continued to play chess, my brain would have balanced out and I would have eventually been able to play with some success and I might even have been more successful in other areas of my life. This post is not intended to discourage any one.  Chess would be wonderful for anyone mildly interested, if a balanced brain can be a result.  

Knowing this now should I take up the game now? Nah.  The world needs rocket scientists, brain surgeons, and chess players, but it also needs artists, so I think I'll just do that.

#Chess  #BeYourself #Artist #Brain