I learned the basics of chess when I was a kid, but I really learned how to play in university when my dealer and our mutual friends would get together, get ripped and pull out the board. We would sometimes play a variation where whenever you put someone in check, you got to smoke a little nug or (if we were really lucky) a wee chunk of hash. I’m not sure if this improved my strategic thinking, but it certainly encouraged me to start checking like I’m in a Stanley Cup playoff.
Ever since then, I’ve loved marijuana in all its wonderful forms and I’ve loved playing chess and most of all, I’ve loved combining the two. No, I’m not that great at the game (I’m solidly average), but I play anyway and Ihave become a Grand Master of ganja, if I do say so myself. It’s about practice, folks. Imagine my joy when I discovered Internet chess and the online 420 Chess Club. I can boogie on the board, chat with like-minded people from around the world, check my email, watch porn, be naked and hit the bong all at once—does it get much better than that? I think not. Hell—you can take two weeks to make a move. This game is soooo set up for potheads.
Here are three reasons why you should join me in my quest to encourage all weed lovers to play chess and all chess lovers to take up the herb:
1. Kill the Myth of the Stupid Stoner
Let’s face it: there are strong stereotypes out there about both cannabis consumers and chess players. However, stereotypes associated with chess tend to be slightly less pejorative than those associated with toking, at least in recent history. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather it be assumed that I’m a brainy nerd than a half-witted stoner.
The origins of modern chess date back as far as 1000 C.E., so one has to figure there have been chess geeks known for their geekiness for at least as long. Human cannabis consumption started thousands of years ago, but the negative caricature of the “stupid stoner” is really a construct of prohibitionists and marijuana prohibition only got going around a hundred years ago.
Therefore, if you play chess and smoke pot, the older and much more established stereotype of the “smart chess player” will trump that of the “dumb pot smoker” and will eventually lead to a dispelling of the Stupid Stoner Myth throughout society.
That, and Cheech Marin repeatedly kicking ass in Celebrity Jeopardy.
2. Kill the Myth of the Too-Geeky-to-Get-Laid Chess Player
Conversely, weed’s history of being an awesome aphrodisiac is very long and well documented. The herb encourages us to socialize and relax around others, opening the lines of communication that would be otherwise closed by self-consciousness. Tokers are known to be mad lovers—ya dig?
The chess geeks’ stigma of being too, well… geeky to get laid—though totally false, of course—is relatively new.
If more stoners start playing chess, our intense communal sexy stoner groove will filter through the chess community and no longer will society think of chess-players as nerdy hopeless virgins whose only social skills run along the lines of chatting online about openings with other hopeless virgins. People will be like, ‘Those chess-players sure do got a lotta bom chika wow wow!’ Even though the reality is that chess-players get laid as much as the rest of us, the perception of play will attract even more play.
On behalf of the 420 Community: you’re welcome for being your wingmen (and women), Chess Community! We got your back.
3. Continue Being Smarter Than Everybody Else
Studies suggest that cannabis use has neuroprotective effects, helping to ward off dementia and improve general cognitive ability as we age. Our brain is ornately bedazzled with cannabinoid receptors, ready to accept dosing from within and without our bodies.
It’s long been understood that chess playing “exercises” the brain, which also helps to keep Al’s hammer from tip tapping on your noggin (http://www.ahaf.org/alzheimers/about/risk/). As with physical exercise, there are undeniable long-term health benefits to treating yourself to a regular cerebral workout.
It stands to reason that if you combine chess and marijuana, you’re not only having a good time that requires neither Lulu Lemon, nor a monthly membership, but you’re also making sure you can stand to reason about anything for a long time to come.