The Beautiful Games

The Beautiful Games

Jun 3, 2010, 12:17 PM |

Very soon one of the biggest sporting events in the world will take place in South Africa.  The 2010 FIFA World Cup starts on 11 June in Johannesburg, and lasts for exactly one month.

Football (or soccer, if you hail from America/Canada) is often called the beautiful game, but I prefer to use that appellation for the game of chess.  In fact, if you believe the book "Football and Chess: Tactics Strategy Beauty" by Adam Wells, then the two games have a lot in common.

I haven't read the book myself, but the reviews I have found online are intruiging.

This review says that "The aim of Well’s book is to explore the relationship between football and chess, to draw out significant analogies.  It is clear that both games involve attack and defence (in some sense) and that each one emphasises the importance of the centre (or the midfield) and the initiative (the capacity to make threats, ball possession).

That old football cliche to the effect that a side has to score when they are on top is matched by Steinitz’s imperative that when you have the advantage you must either use it and attack, or forfeit it.

Elsewhere, Wells ranges widely and discusses some of the psychological factors important to both games (creativity, concentration, emotional control, etc.) and aesthetics, at one point comparing a move by Mikhail Tal to a pass by Ronaldinho!"

I'm not a big football fan, but perhaps I should watch a few games from the tournament to see if it improves my chess! Cool

Chess and football in harmony - IM Almira Skripchenko displays her football skills...