Should Grace Abound?
Should Grace Abound?
by Dr. Jim Fox
I wrote a blog entry a while back about JERKS and that life is just too short to put up with them. I still believe that - but I think I may have went overboard in its application. I got to the point where I was disappointed in other players if I said “Hello” in a game and they did not respond. This is not the world championship where every word goes through an arbitrator. Face it, I came here for what Chess.com’s motto suggests: Play, Learn and Share.
I like the sharing part. My rating is pathetic seeming not moving up -- and I can fall for the same ideas, moves and tactics easily. So I really cherish the sharing part.
My health is bad. I have several ailments. My medical doctor knows I am a licensed mental health therapist but he seems to at times trying to prepare me for death knowing that therapists are hard to get through to. I am in my early 50s. Death? I never smoked, used drugs, or was even drunk.
But many head traumas, diabetes, and a car accident that ripped up my back -- has me on pain killers and diabetes is a progressive disease that can shorten your life.
With that as a backdrop, I seek out people who “share” with with more vigor. Some people are out to improve their rating in easy ways. Beat newbies rated at 1200 or slowly building it by beating 600 to 900 rated players. I on the other had have played 60 Chess.com greeter games. People rarely finish greeter games. But if they play, I help them the best I can.
I have also formed a group “Learning Openings & Basics”. It is a group of players who play practice games with each other to learn a new openings or tactic.
It is kind of like having a second to play and try things without hurting your rating. Some love the idea, some have rejected it. It really comes down to whether or not they know Algebraic Notation for Chess. I have made free videos available, but still, it is an on going process -- I even made a step-by-step thread with directions and diagrams so if you did not know Algebraic Notation, you could participate and learn notation at your leisure. It remains to be seen if it works.
But that is a tangent - grace in action so to speak. Grace is defined in many ways, but Webster’s puts it this way: the quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful.
Are we considerate and thoughtful to our opponents? My block list had way too many people on it. Was I considering THEM or ME? I eliminated my block list.
I have tons of friends here on Chess.com. All very nice and caring. When I was in the hospital after nearly dying, I got more well wishes from Chess.com players (they had free internet in the hospital and I played during my 11 day stay) than I had visitors. People are not sure what to say face to face to a former pastor and a therapist.
They expect comfort from you, not you to give comfort. Also, being a therapist, some people did not want to visit figuring the would be identified as one of my patients. Being a therapist is a cold and lonely profession. You have to listen and help people, but they cannot return the favor.
So perhaps Grace should abound here at Chess.com. Forgive, forget, help and encourage. David Pruess always listens to me and my sometimes strange ideas.
So when in doubt -- say hello to people. Be a greeter. Help people with their Chess.com questions. Playing is easy, learning a bit harder, but sharing - sharing should be second nature.