What's so great about chess?
"Chess, like love, like music, has the power to make men happy." - Siegbert Tarrasch, Grandmaster
I will be the first to admit, that I am not exactly proud of every moment of my past. When I was a teenager, I used to spend hours a day playing video games and watching movies. Once the game of Chess got ahold of me, I can't say that I have had so much interest in losing long periods of time over electronic entertainment.
It's not that I am trying to throw stones at video games or movies. Both are a form of art and have their place in influencing society for a reason. In light of this, may I suggest that the ancient game of chess has the ability to promote joy in ways that few other pursuits can.
While in 20 years Pokemon Go will be a distant memory, chess will most likely be coming into it's strongest position in culture than ever before. I want to take a moment to share a few reasons to explore this from the book "Chess for Success" by Grandmaster Maurice Ashley.
-Develops logical thinking
-Sharpens problem-solving skills
-Improves concentration and focus
-Enhances imagination and creativity
-Develops the capacity to forsee the consequences of one's actions
-Promotes independence and a sense of responsibility
-Reinforces the concept of delayed gratification and much more!
We need to find tools in an age of distraction, where our kids are being trained by social media to not be able to focus for a sustained period of time. I believe that Chess could be a gift to culture in order to promote entertainment and joy in the moment while at the same time enhancing other areas of our quality of life. .
As for me, I'm hooked. I'm never going back. I am not writing this article to convince you to pursue chess above everything else. However, if you find a joy welling up inside of you while enjoying the mental gymnastics afforded to you by the game, by all means, "Play on".