Tuesday, July 17, 2012
People-Watching Observations and Thoughts on Chess
First off - the picture. That board that no one is sitting at (w/ the oj bottle) is where I lost the round 3 game. There are several people in the picture, who I've played. Most of them are really nice folks and easy to talk to.
Also in this picture is the kid, with the use of his dad and his dad's computer, got a bit of help in the 2010 Class Championships (see this post). Another father and son duo were playing in this tournament. I played the kid in a side-game and he was a really well-behaved kid. I mention this because I wish one of my kids would get addicted to chess and we could go to tournaments on the weekend. Right now, they all like playing checkers with me - it's all about fun.
And now a few random observations in the form of a question to the people I observed.
"Why do you have to wear your PJs to the tournament? Have you really given up that much on life?"
"Sunglasses?! Are you freaking kidding me? Maybe if you were playing for $10,000 stakes and for some weird reason your thinking-threads could be seen streaming across your eyes, it might be a good idea to wear shades. But at a tournament like this?!"
"Have you people heard of Kleenex? Clearing your nose by snorting - not once, not twice, but several times - is not the way to clean house."
"I love the Asians - Buddha bless them! Sometimes I wonder what kind of person I would have turned out to be under the tutelage of a Tiger Mom."
Anyway ... chess. I need to figure out why I'm playing it. I hit on some reasons in my post "I Play Hope Chess". To get good and decent at chess requires a tremendous amount of time and effort. It's a game of "inches" ... sometimes you win or lose by an inch Several hours or even years of studying and practice yields only a few inches in progress.
Is it a worthwhile endeavor? Or should it be considered a pastime? Relatively speaking ... compared to watching TV, chess is better. Compared to video games, in my opinion, chess is better. Compared to playing in sports leagues such as basketball or football, chess is not better.
And to go off on a tangent - how many calories does one burn in a 3-4 hour game of chess? Does the brain really burn that many calories? I just googled that ... it does burn calories, but not much when compared to physical exercise.
Off tangent - back to message ... Better than reading? Maybe better than reading a comic book. Maybe not better than reading a book like Carnage & Culture.
I love doing tactics at ChessTempo. I love playing long games. I love playing blitz. Studying can be fun at times too. But I don't think I'm prepared to pour more than a max of 7 hours a week into the game. And then when I do pour time into the game, it must be consecutive hours - especially for a game. 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there doesn't really work too well.
So that leaves me at just calling it a pastime and simply enjoying the game - realizing that I should work to improve, but that the gains will be small and that I should focus on enjoyment more than results.
I'm ok with that. Life is about balance and spending time on worthwhile efforts. Chess certainly has its utility, but it is not a big rock.