Why Should You Play Chess?

4 03 2010

People who are just starting out with chess or are considering starting out may be faced with the following question: “Why should I play chess?”

That’s a very good question, as chess is not an easy game: To compete, you have to think very hard, exhaust your brain, face terrible defeats, study, and work very, very hard. Hours of sweat and blood will be spent on this endeavor, and there’s got to be a good reason for it.

You’ve Got to be a Little Crazy

Anyone who plays chess has to be a bit crazy, because of all the downsides, and completely normal people usually wouldn’t put themselves through that trauma. But for intellectual people who enjoy challenging their mind, it can be a very good choice to play this game.

  • It’s Fascinating

Chess is very fascinating. You have 64 squares, 16 pieces for each side, and the goal is to checkmate the enemy king. There is a ton of strategy behind it, and the possibilities are almost unlimited. To anyone who can understand the game (and pretty much any reasonable person can), it’s amazing.

  • It Stimulates Your Mind

A lot of smart people aren’t challenged enough. Chess is one of the most challenging tasks on the planet, and you have the opportunity to match up with equally smart people (that somewhat depends on your individual smarts).

  • It’s a Great Way to Meet New People

Meeting new people is something that most of us want to do; especially friends.

In chess, your fellow competitors can be like-minded people who make great companions. Some of my good friends have come from playing chess. But be prepared for nut-cases, because there are many!

  • Getting Away

A chess board is a great place to get away from the daily struggle of your life. No matter how bad your finances or your relationships are, it is all erased when you sit down and play. The game is truly engrossing, and if you’re focused on the game, you’ll surely forget about the troubles.

The only time when it may not be good is when you are playing badly, but that’s something else 🙂

  • Competition

Most humans love to compete, and chess is the ultimate competition. You face people whom you don’t know, and there will be a winner and a loser, or a draw from both parties. One of the great things about chess is that there will always be someone lower than you; someone you can beat. Winning is a great feeling.

For the reasons above, I strongly recommend playing chess. For all of the great things, the downside is that it’s hard, but chess is fun (if it isn’t for you–then stop playing), and that makes it very tolerable. The upside far outweighs the downside. So what are you waiting for: Learn the game!

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2 responses

7 03 2010
hukes

Although I am almost thirty years older than you, my rating is about 1200. I have loved the game ever since I was about five years old, but I only play occasionally and have never got any better than 1200.

I agree with all your reasons for playing chess and I’d like to add one more: the aesthetics. I am a programmer and sometimes I see in some C code beauty just like when I see a beautiful game in chess. Most non-chess people do not understand this, but I am sure you know what I am talking about.

14 03 2010
johnstond2015

I definitely understand. There is a certain art-like beauty to chess and the way the game is played. It used to be a science, but since Fischer came, it has been an art. The great sacrifices and attacks are amazing, and perhaps what fascinates me most is that he often made bad moves, but he was so intimidating his opponents usually failed to capitalize on them! I guess if you believe you never make a mistake, your opponent’s just might, too. It is the same for every profession, I think. Coding is a lot like chess; your opponent is the code!

I do find it strange, though, that you were only able to get to 1200. I have an old adage that if you try hard enough, you can be at least 1600. Perhaps the problem is in the books that you study, or maybe you don’t study enough, or even at all.

I know someone who is so talented they were able to get up to 1800 without studying, but have been at that level for over a year now. Until they put in the commitment, they will not get any better.

Hopefully through some book help on this website I can help to improve your rating!

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