I love chess because...


People often ask me what I find so wonderful about chess. It's a fair enough question to those who don't play the game. People see me obsessed over a puzzle, with a board set up on the coffee table in our living room, my hands moving pieces in a blurred flurry of dexterity and hand motion.

"It's the art man, the art, can't you see it?" I often blurt out. Judging by the perplexed looks on people's faces, I see my point falls short. I had to really think for a moment the last time someone asked me this question. I know why I love chess, my wife knows (since she can play), as do people who play the game. However, to give someone not versed in the game a glimpse into your reasoning, requires some effort.

What perplexes people further is, after I give my long winded explanation, the look on their faces after they ask the next logical question:

"Man, you must be really good at this game?"

"Not really, but I am getting better." I respond

I can see the gears coming to a grinding halt within their collective craniums. You put this much time and energy into a game you're not great at?  How long have you been at this? Some of these people are individuals who had to spend years in order to learn how to play a guitar, so how  could they make such a statement. After all, there was a point when they were not that great. I guess since chess appears to be simply another board game in a long list of board games familiar to them through their childhood memories, they don't put a great deal of stock in the game itself.

So back to wht I love chess. More so with today's technological advances, we can play chess anywhere, anytime. Computer software allows me to play a challanging game no matter where I am. My assortment of handheld devices allows me to take the game with me everywhere. However, it goes beyond modern technology, for I am 46 years old and come from the "old school" world of analogchess clocks.

I have mentioned my love of chess puzzles and solving them. While I am not a great player, I to can get great satisfaction from this game becuase of the constant challanges I face while learning the finer points of the game. I use a tournament set (Drueke triple weighted, tan and black) and a chess board/mat. What I love doing is getting a new book of tactics and sitting on my couch (my wife, dog and cat all stretched out around me) and going to work.

The game of chess holds me entranced on many levels. I love nother more than sitting at the board on a rainy night, playing the night away. I love the people I have met through this game:

As a musician, you expect to meet a certain type of person as you play club after club. These people are often other musicians and you share your love of music. The people that come to shows are interested in your music and often don't share their outside interests with you. People who play chess are a different lot. There are many interests from people who hail from many countries. With them I get to share world history, customs, information about their country of origin I'd never find in a book, and of course chess. Music can be a world filled with inflated egos, something I find little of in my chess playing friends.

I love reading about chess. Within the pages of a magazine, I might find a small pearl of wisdom that a take and put away for a later day, a day when that little pearl can be grown into a large pearl that I use during a game. I know enough abaout the game to be able to follow matches annotated in books. To the lover of chess, it can be like reading a suspenseful novel, anticipating what  just might be beyond the door the hero of the novel is about to open.

I love the game for a thousand reasons, some of which make sense only to me. I love the game because with it, I never have a wasted moment of time. If I'm stuck at the airport, out comes the chess board. If I don't feel like playing guitar, out comes the chess board. To those who don't play, my reasons will be wasted. To those who play, my reasons will be noted!