Why Be Good at Chess?

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Why Be Better at Chess?

As chess players, a great deal of our time is devoted to the subject of how to be better at chess. We live in hope of that Damascean moment when the secrets of chess excellence will revealed to us and the tyranny of the bell curve distribution will be overthrown. We will, like Bobby Fischer, “just get good”. To this end we study, practice and reflect. We join clubs. We sign on with online chess sites. Some go so far as pay for personal coaching. And we buy books about chess – a lot of books! Now, things being as they are, I am not the person to give anybody advice on how to become excellent at chess. But the thought strikes me that it may be helpful for us all to consider why it is that we strive to do so.

Dr Siegbert Tarrasch once remarked that “Chess, like love, like music has the power to make men happy” [1] which is certainly true as far as it goes but the “Teacher of Germany”[2] does rather gloss over why it is that chess has that power to make people happy. But perhaps chess computers like Deep Blue, Fritz and Rybka, which have made a number of important contributions to technical chess theory, can offer us a clue to this distinctly human concern too. Consider; very few of us endeavour to become good at chess because we wish to be able to beat chess engines. We wish to play against other human beings! Quite clearly, chess is a social occupation.[3]

Returning to the question why be better at chess? It seems reasonable to conclude that proficiency at the game gives us a sense of status and belonging in a community which shares our values and an affirmation that the community values us. It is in this respect that ChessCube is unique in online chess; ChessCube recognises that the social component of the game is as important as any other element of it and provides a community where this aspect is actively nurtured. And come to think of it, this social dynamic seems likely to better any player’s game.

We would love to hear from you – what are you in it for? Hopefully an interesting and fruitful conversation will arise and in future blogs we can develop it further.

[1] http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Chess
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarrasch
Praeceptor Germaniae
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_animal

“A social animal is a loosely defined term for an organism that is highly interactive with other members of its species to the point of having a recognizable and distinct society.”


2 Responses to “Why Be Good at Chess?”

  • America Marinelli Says:

    It is a very long game, with an engaging story. It can be a bit frustrating, but the in-game hints are very helpful, and I’ve posted a short list of “translations” in the game area. ie. What they ask for and what they really mean. BigFishGames Fan.

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