Jul 30, 2010, 9:43 AM 2
In places like the United States ... and most of Western Europe ..., chess is culturally seen as a fringe activity for socially incapable males.
I like this quote because I think it's true. I'm definitely a closet chess player. Most of the people in my social & professional network would probably consider it shameful for someone like me to spend as much time on chess as I do.
I work hard at getting better because my own weak play PISSES ME OFF! Now that I'm approaching USCF 1600, I definitely don't enjoy playing weaker players (i.e. 99.9% of all people or 100% of my friends). So it gets very lonely very fast when you start seriously improving. I wish I could play in tournaments every once in awhile but family obligations keep me tied up on nights and weekends. (Why are there no weekday tournaments? I would gladly take a couple days off work.) Maybe when the kids get older and more self-sufficient I can manage a weekend tournament here or there...
Bottom line: Chess is the only activity where I feel the genuine joy of competition. In no sport or even rock climbing, which I also like very much, do I feel motivated to really push myself to get better.
Holler if you are in Silicon Valley, CA, USA and you feel the same way.