Another Thing I Love About Chess
There is an aspect of chess that I didn't notice until I grew older, but it has made the game all the more enjoyable.
At a certain point in life you come to realize that just about every endeavor you engage in -- whether it's work, friends, romantic relationships, or even family -- is plagued by politics. You can never simply say what you mean, do what you say, and try to excel at what you do. Instead, you always have to tiptoe through a minefield of fragile and irrational egos; if you happen to step on one, everything becomes a giant mess even though your only goal was to get from point A to point B. It's exhausting and, quite frankly, maddening.
Chess offers sanctuary from the politics and BS of daily life. Your mind is unleashed to engage in the pursuit of excellence and beauty without regard to how anyone else feels about it. The rules are fixed and apply equally to everyone, no ifs, ands, or buts. There is no need to flatter your opponent or negotiate with him; you just play, and whoever plays better wins. An inferior player cannot politic his way to a higher rating, as an inferior worker might pull off with his salary in the workplace. You don't have to be "likeable" to succeed. You just have to work hard and do well.
It would be nice if daily life were more like chess. Since it's not, I'll keep playing.