It's more than just a game

It's more than just a game

SonofPearl
SonofPearl
Mar 21, 2008, 4:01 AM |
2

 

I was delighted to receive my Chess.com T-Shirt recently and look forward to becoming a walking billboard for Chess.com!  My wife managed to stop laughing at how excited I was long enough to take a photo of me! Laughing  The back view, featuring the Chess.com logo is here.  

Chess has always meant much more to me than simply being a game.  Everyone bitten by the chess bug can attest that to describe chess as merely a game is to deny the depth of it's beauty, both artistic and scientific, and the passion it can arouse.  My own feelings are echoed by this quote from "The Royal Game" by Stefan Zweig

 

I was well aware from my own experience of the mysterious attraction of the royal game, this one among all games contrived by man which rises superior to the tyranny of chance and which bestows its palms only on mental attainment, or rather on a definite form of mental endowment.

But is it not an offensively narrow construction to call chess a game? Is it not a science too, a technique, an art, that sways among these categories as Mahomet's coffin does between heaven and earth, at once a union of all contradictory concepts:

primeval yet ever new;

mechanical in operation yet effective only through the imagination;

bounded in geometric space though boundless in its combinations;

ever-developing yet sterile;

thought that leads to nothing;

mathematics that produces no result;

art without works;

architecture without substance,

and nevertheless, as proved by evidence, more lasting in its being and presence than all books and achievements; the only game that belongs to all peoples and all ages and of which none knows the divinity that bestowed it on the world to slay boredom, to sharpen the senses, to exhilarate the spirit.

One searches for its beginning and for its end. Children can learn its simple rules, duffers succumb to its temptation, yet within this immutable tight square it creates a particular species of master not to be compared with any other - persons destined for chess alone, specific geniuses in whom vision, patience and technique are operative through a distribution no less precisely ordained than in mathematics, poets, composers, but merely united on a different level.