Justice and Chess

Justice and Chess

NM eltenedor
Sep 13, 2015, 8:49 PM |

On the chess board lies and hypocrisy do not survive long. The creative combination lays bare the presumption of a lie; the mercliess fact, culminating in a checkmate, contradicts the hypocrite. Our little chess is one of the sanctuaries, where this principle of justice has occassionally had to hide to gain sustenance and respite, after the army of mediocrities had driven it from the marketplace. And many a man, struck by injusice as, say, Socrates and Shakespeare were struck, has found justice realized on the chess board and has thereby recovered his courage and his vitality to continue to play the game of life. Later generations, not so narrow-minded as ours, will recognize and appreciate this merit of our noble game.

I came across this powerful statement by Emanuel Lasker (2nd world chess champion) while reading his excellent book Lasker's Manual of Chess, and I could not pass up this opportunity to replicate its brilliance via the interwebs.

Now it is the 21st century and the jury is out: Do we now appreciate this merit of our noble game, that ever-elusive justice? Has the justice that we have discovered through this wonderful game of chess indeed given us the courage to continue to play the game of life?

I have previously suggested that perhaps we play chess, at least in small part, to remind ourselves of our sanity, to perpetually self-confirm it -- for surely, if we are crushed mercilessly today by the once-cowering rival who succumbed to our brilliancy yesterday, we must be losing our marbles. In a more straightforward sense, I suppose that many play because, well, they enjoy it . . . or because it's intellectually stimulating . . . or because it's a refuge from boredom, marriage, or, more directly, because it's an addiction. All of the above, perhaps.

Now, before sitting on these hands (which, for better or worse, transmit highly speculative thoughts), I ask: What element of the game do you most appreciate, and why do you play?  

(Image courtesty of Wikipedia)