The Casual Gamer #1: Virtual Chess Clubs
Welcome to my www.chess.com blog, which I have tentatively entitled "The Casual Gamer", as that is what I consider myself.
What is a "casual" gamer? Well, I've always defined that as someone who plays a game (any game) to relax, have fun, and enrich his or her lifestyle. There is no smacking of heads on desks, no screaming at computer screens because something didn't go the way it was expected to. There's no ditching out on important things in 'real life' in order to squeeze in ooooone more match.....
That being said, I also may be a huge hypocrite, because I devote at LEAST 50 hours a week to the development and administration of a 'casual' gaming organization, known as Dominion Gaming (www.dominiongaming.net). What originally started out as a group of military veterans like myself getting together to play modern first-person-shooter (FPS) games over the internet has evolved into a global organization with hundreds of members and thousand of visitors a day. Dominion Gaming plays games from just about EVERY genre. We have a professional web design staff, administration officers, and our information can be found on college campuses and in coffee houses throughout the world.
Recently, a member mentioned that he played chess online, and invited us to join him. Most of us echoed the same sentiments...that we hadn't played since high school, and we were all apparently 'pretty good back then' (yeah...right), and wouldn't mind a 'friendly' game here and there.
Well, all I have to say is that we all went in thinking we were Garry Kasparov and a few days later realized we were really Eddie Haskell (if you are too young to get that reference, I moun today's youth). Now, having been beaten down and set straight with the impartial stick of reality, we're a bunch of chess nuts (heh, heh heh heh...meh).
So, this brings me to the topic at hand. Virtual chess clubs.
The chess club has long been a bastion of intellectuals from a given geographic area, and have always been known as a 'cut above' other gaming clubs (bridge, bingo, what have you). This is where geniuses met to mentally combat each other over a 64-tiled board, and test their noggins against others who felt their head was bigger than the leader from Mars Attacks.
<----Grand Master YAPP! From the Mars chess club
Now don't get me wrong--I do not disrespect people who are good at chess. Heck, I'm extremely jealous and hope that one day I can be like one of those 10 year olds who can open a can of whooparse on the local heart surgeon and still be home in time for Spongebob.
Wow, tangent. Ok. Easy, Spence. Take a breath.
A new type of club has emerged in the past dozen or so years since the advent of the internet (thank you, Al Gore!). That club is the internet-based chess club. Here, one's appearance, social standing, or body odor plays absolutely no part in the game of chess. Clubs are no longer based on the desire to play the game, but on other common interests as well.
Take Dominion Gaming, for instance. We're not a 'chess' club, but we are. Make sense? Of course it doesn't! If it did, you would think I'm normal. We can't have that, now, can we? Dominon Gaming is an internet GAMING organization, so the focus is on games in general, not any particular one. Our true common ground (for most members) is the fact that we're active military or veterans from our respective country's armed services. That is our link, our common denominator. Chess just happens to be a great way for us to have fun together.
Now, I'm sure the chess purists out there are saying 'that does not do the game any justice'. Well, I can definitely see where that may be true in some aspects, but at the same time, it is a great thing. By having internet chess clubs, the beauty of the 'Immortal Game' is being spread to people that would normally never push a pawn. The more that people play, the more fun we all have. Who knows? Maybe the next Fischer or Karpov will emerge from some internet-based chess club...
If you are looking for people to play chess with, I encourage you all to find an internet-based chess club. Find one that suits your particular interests, or your play schedule, or your lifestyle. There's chess clubs for Christians, military members, high school students, professionals, political views, musicians, sexual orientation, geographic area, and much more. If you're going to play a game that you love, you might as well play with people you can relate to!
At the end of the day, however, remember that even chess is JUST A GAME. Battles may be waged on the checkered squares, but off the table, life goes on.
Until next time.