Chess Was Once Considered As Dangerous As Video Games

Oct 16, 2014, 7:54 AM |

I stumbled on an interesting article discussing how in days of yore many people attacked chess as diverting players' energies away from more productive endeavors. When reading this I got a strong mental image of some scold wagging his finger at me while I'm trying to concentrate. For me, chess is wonderful precisely because it is impractical. Here we have a pure exercise of the mind that allows us to escape the incessant demands of the world and pursue artistry for its own sake. I pity those who will never experience the joy of finding a hidden combination, sacrificing material to set up an attack on the king, marching a passed pawn to imminent glory, or even posting a strong knight.

In chess we also have one of the last refuges of silence and decorum, all the more crucial in a world that grows louder and shallower every day. A tournament is like a church, with a level of seriousness and respect that most churches don't even have anymore. Finally, chess reminds us that we are more than just animals fixated on the demands of daily survival; as humans, we have the unique capacity to let our minds wander and soar into new territory, and chess keeps that part of us in good shape.