Art, Creativity and Beauty

Art, Creativity and Beauty

NM NMMustang6000
Feb 6, 2015, 6:56 PM |

Art, Creativity and Beauty in Chess

Beauty itself cannot be perceived. We have no physical sense for it in particular. We can only perceive elements, which in their combination, in their ratio of composition trigger a feeling of beauty in us.

In order to experience beauty, it has nevertheless to be inside of ourselves. Not outside of ourselves. Not in a landscape, not in a sunset, not in the body of a woman and also not in a work of art. Neuroscientists say that the perception of beauty is caused by the disbursement of a certain hormone or neuron-transmitter. When this substance is present in an adequate concentration in a particular part of the brain, then it activates a special perception which we call "beauty".

And it seems that a determinate set of impressions must act together, in order for the hormone to be disbursed. In their own way the mental movements of a game of chess seem to cause this effect equally on players and the audience in the same fashion, as the effect of painting, music or poetry does.The development of beauty in chess never depends on you alone. No matter how much imagination and creativity you invest, you still do not create beauty. Your opponent must react at the same level. Even if you play perfectly, a fault of your opponent’s can destroy the entire beauty of the game. The stronger your opponent, the stronger the game develops.

In chess one cannot control everything. Sometimes a game takes an unexpected turn, in which beauty begins to emerge. Both players are always instrumental in this. To a certain extent it is like a dance. Both dancers must be creative, in order to keep the creativity flowing. To play against someone who is much weaker, is extremely dissatisfying. Strength can only develop in the presence of a strong opponent.

For us chess players the use of the language of art is something natural. Perhaps it is also due to the fact that to us, chess is similar to art. It is difficult to define what art is, and even more difficult, what may not be art. Art is reluctant to be forced into a defined frame and even less does art like a context to be forbidden to it. Beauty and intensity, and creativity are elements of art. There, where they can be perceived, is presumably where art is. In chess all three elements are present. Therefore, and not only because of this, I see no reason not to regard chess as an art.

Every form of art can trigger joy and intensity and beauty. It is irrelevant whether it is art, or architecture, or music, or chess. What is important is that one can share it with people...


For me Art and Chess are closely related, both are forms in which the self finds beauty and expression. Chess is a combination of Art, Science and Sport. These 3 elements in Chess is still present even in today's computer age.

I am convinced, the way one plays chess always reflects the player’s personality. If something defines his character, then it will also define his way of playing. If you go by the standards of Champions, Fischer and Karpov considers chess primarily as a sport. And Art is only a by product of their intense drive to win. In their time, Fischer wants to win every game, while Karpov endeavored to win first place or at least tie for first in every tournament. That I believe is their distinction. Fischer is a maximalist.

Alekhine, Tal and Kasparov is primarily an Artist (Majority of top players love art. This indicates to me that both Chess and Art are indeed similar in essence). But their games are supplemented by their intense quest for knowledge (particularly Alekhine and Kasparov), and their pioneering and revolutionary spirit when it comes to opening research and improvisation. And that my friends, is Science.

Botvinnik (in my opinion) is the first World Champion (although Steinitz and later on Alekhine were the pioneers of scientific chess research) who really tried to put the game of chess into a Procrustean Bed of hard, cold logic. In passing I would like to say that a chess theoretician is a person who studies the Science of Chess.

By the way, how do we define science? According to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, the definition of science is "knowledge attained through study or practice. Less formally, the word Science often describes any systematic field of study or the knowledge gained from it...
A beautiful chess art: We are living in cloud cuckoo land. . .