Thursday, May 03, 2007

"Chess Goes to School" Article's Daily Dirt Chess blog featured an article about chess over at Slate.

There were a couple of parts that I found interesting. The first one has to do with tactics and The Circles.

The more patterns a player internalizes, the more intricate a system of
combinations that player can access. At lower levels, that allows a stronger player to run through more possibilities than a weaker one would; at the top, there's a quantitative to qualitative shift, with grandmasters zeroing in on the best possibilities, rather than reviewing more possibilities faster than an expert would. But if you ask a top player to remember random positions of pieces on a chessboard, rather than situations that might actually arise in master-level play, his powers of recall don't correlate nearly as well with his skill. In other words, a studiously honed memory for chess combinations doesn't necessarily transfer to better retention of other material.
The other quote describes chess as such:

Ruthless standards and dizzying freedom, all in one package: That is a rarity. And it is a recipe for what experts call "effortful study," or the process of indefatigably tackling ever harder challenges, which many believe is the secret to successfully pursuing excellence in anything.

The author goes on to point out that chess can be an "all-consuming distraction" and cites an example of a boy named Shawn on the Murrow team who is so addicted to chess that he skips school to play blitz games in the park! Horror of horrors! As if chess were the only cause of a boy skipping class.

Playing chess is like any other sport or hobby or carrer in life. You can take it to an extreme and let it consume you or you can be the master of your domain and control your obsessions. I also think that chess can not only provide a person enjoyment and fulfillment, but it can teach one a lot about choices and life and problem-solving.

Overall, the Slate article was a good read.

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