Guardian of the Game

Jan 20, 2012, 9:41 PM |

Chess. It all started with just a little curiousity, of how the intriguing pieces move, and I wondered, just how complicated can this game be, after all?  I had to look up the instructions to see how the pieces moved, for I had always wondered about that. During my first few games, I began to see the myriad possibilites of aggressive as well as defensive play. Each new move on the board, for me, triggered often unforeseen scenarious which contained subsequent consequences or blessing.

For a time, I made many mistakes, lost many games, became frustrated, and just nearly left the whole business to smart kids, or friekishly brilliant grand masters. Then, I began to learn an opening or two, some nomenclature for particular moves, and slowly, every so slowly, I began to comprehend how to defend positions and how take new new ground. Next, I began to consider strategies for multiple sequences of moves, and how those possibilities might be countered. Then, dare I say it? I began to really think ahead. I learned to "consider." This breakthrough in Chess spilled over into life, and improved my capacity for problem solving, in general.

Ever so gradually, I began to experience a small measure of success in Chess, albeit, hard won success. I was even able, finally, after many unsuccessful attempts, to put a worthy opponent or two into checkmate.

I am not a great player, don't win every game, and am not an expert by any means. There has been a subtle change, however, within my experience of Chess. I have come to enjoy the game, and perhaps even have come to identify with it.

Each new game teaches me something, grants new insight, and active playing has increased my ability to solve problems by learning how to spot multiple possible solutions. Sometimes, in rare moments of sparkling insight, I have chanced to discover that golden nugget of the best solution, which has always yielded a great reward. Chess is teaching me how to encounter, or perhaps better said, to engage, in facing the problems or threats presented, both on the board, and in life.  

These experiences have somehow, someway, combined to give me a new view of Chess.  I hope to teach my children how to play, and I have invested in a nice set to play live games with family and friends. Granted, I may never be a truly great player, but I think I will just keep playing, and keep engaging, in hopes that I will enjoy even greater success in the future.

I may also never be a grand master, but feel as if I have encountered some type of grandiose yet subtle transformation within. Perhaps many others have experienced this notable but personal accomplishment: that realization of a slow, hard won, but vast improvment in Chess. You see, I have become, just nearly like my particularly fine and favorite Chess piece, within my particularly favorite and familiar set... a "guardian of the game itself."

Steven Shane