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Chess musings

Try and explain your passion for our beloved pastime to a casual player or a non-player. “How can you expend so much time on a stupid game?” they wonder. I’ve been confronted with this question so much that I began to wonder myself – what exactly is it about chess that is so enrapturing? To me, it is the creative aspect of chess. I view chess as part art, game, and sport - in that order. Every once in a while you play a game that you’re really proud of. Maybe in hindsight it wasn’t a flawless game. But at the moment it was a game that just flowed naturally and logically and overwhelmed the opponent. Or a game that’s very even, but you nurse the tiniest advantage into a win. That is what makes it so addicting for me. Every game is so engrossing, that the outside world is not even a distraction. When hours fly by without notice while I’m in the center of my own little creative universe. And in the end is my own creation - something that I made from scratch. I can only imagine that it is akin to the satisfaction a composer feels listening to a song he has written, or an artist enjoys looking at his own painting, or an author after he has penned the final period… There are serious chess players and casual chess players. Serious chess players are those who belong to a chess club, play in tournaments, study the game, buy chess books, etc. Most can probably relate to the narrative above. Casual players play once in a while against their neighbors, friends or relatives. Sometimes they get so good that they can beat everyone they play. Some will finally make their way to a chess club. But there is a large disparity between a very good casual player and even an “average” serious player. My lament is when the casual player cannot accept this discovery, and never returns again. This is my invitation to all the casual players wanting to see how good they are. Come, persevere, and see how good you can become. Find the creative enthrallment that is chess.

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