Archive for August, 2009

Unhealthy Addiction

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

0813-chessSeriously now. This addiction to chess is getting ridiculous. I don’t know if it’s the recession at large or my impending unemployment. Chess beckons daily like an alternate universe where absolute order prevails, even though I make a mess of it every time. I can’t win for shit, which makes me the definition of insanity, since I keep, like Oliver, going back for more. “Those linked central pawns of his,” Martin Amis once wrote of the time he played the world’s Number 3 (Nigel Short), “oh, what they could do to me. They weren’t pawns in the normal sense; they had grown, fattened; they were more like bishops, or rooks. No, they were like queens, I thought, as they worked their way into the very crux of my defence.” I don’t have to play the world’s Number 3 to feel that way. Just my brother on the other side of the world (you can see our latest game, my latest humiliation, here. The guy is merciless. Just like when we were young tykes angling for sibling supremacy. Never had a chance then, still don’t now. Still, may I have some more?

Chess Sucks

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

My exact sentiments. This from a now-defunct blog, but still dead-on:

I’ve been trying to learn chess. Now, I’ve always considered myself a relatively smart man, but there’s just something about chess that, just, oh, I don’t know makes me feel like a total dumbass. I thought computers made me feel dumb, but chess has really got them beat. Chess makes me feel inadequate, yet every night I keep playing. I keep choosing easier and easier opponents and I keep losing and losing. A game shouldn’t be this hard. It’s a board game for crying out loud. Everyday I tell myself I’m not going to play again. I come home and sit down in my chair, trying to ignore my computer’s siren song. “Come play chess,” it sings sweetly, “you can win this time,” and like the sailors of old I heed the song, I amble over to the computer full well knowing I’m going to shipwreck on the rocks. (That was all metaphorical. I don’t really need a ship to get to my computer. I use a rowboat.) So after this next game, I’m done. I’m going to quit. I can do it. I don’t need it. I mean, what’s one more time going to hurt?

Incidentally, if anyone wants to kick my ass I play at chess.com as ptristam.