Chess and other sports…

People have all sorts of funny reasons for not liking chess.

One of my Black friends had said: “I don’t like chess…it’s a ‘racist’ game – White fight against black. Moreover it is always White who make first move!”

Another girl said: “Chess is a game for male chauvinists…in which King doesn’t do anything to protect himself and expects Queen to save him! King barely moves (1 move at a time) and yet…all others (including Queen!) are expected to sack their lives to protect king…that’s not fair.”

Well…leave the fun part aside; but chess is probably the only game where there is no gender discrepancy…where there are no separate events for Men and Women.

You can crib against gender bias in football, cricket, athletics etc. where they have separate events for men and women…in that sense some sports such as boxing and weigh-lifting are higly discriminating – not just in terms of gender but also the weight! 🙂

An 80 Kg. girl is not allowed to compete in weight-lifting with a 50 Kg. girl…why, just because she has a few extra Kgs ??!! How discriminating 🙂

The India’s current World Chess Champion Vishwanathan Anand had told a funny incidence about chess.

He was traveling on a train and the passenger next to him started chatting with him. ‘What do you do?’ asked the passenger… ‘I play chess’ – Anand. The passenger thought Anand didn’t understand the question properly. He said: ‘No, no…not your hobby. What do you do for a living?’

Anand replied: ‘I play chess…for a living’

The man did not look particularly happy, he said: ‘Well, young man…get yourself a decent job. It’s hard to make a living on chess…unless, of course you are Vishwanathan Anand!’

Vishy did not know how to react…to feel happy that he knew Vishwanathan Anand and recognized that ‘only’ he could make a living out of chess or to feel sad that the man could not identify him as ‘Vishwanathan Anand’

In India, cricket is a religion – no other sport can match its popularity and any Tom, Dick and Harry of cricket is well-known to people in India – But there are peopl who do not even recognize the World Champion in chess!

That is mostly because chess is perceived to be a ‘difficult’ game – people don’t grab the beauty of it.

Why is chess different from other sports?

The beauty of any others sport is in its ‘execution’ – not in ‘conception’. For example, in tennis many players could ‘conceptualize’ or visualize a particular short – but very few have the ability to execute it to perfection. The lesser the gap between this visualization and execution, the better the performance of the player.

Even when a player gets older and starts to lose his form it is not because he cannot conceptualize those shots/ moves/ actions but because he cannot execute them to perfection…maybe because of physical constraints or otherwise. There are external influences beyond your control (such as weather, wind, sunlight etc.) which may create gap between your ‘conceptualization’ of a shot and its execution. You can blame it on many factors!

With chess it is different – it’s a game of ‘perfect knowns’…there is not a single thing that is ‘hidden’ from the players…they can see everything, both have same information about the game. Also, ‘execution’ doesn’t have a place at all! Only the conceptualization – the thinking – matters. You cannot claim that I had thought of a particular move but could not execute it – unless you are physically so disabled that you cannot even move pieces 🙂

One may claim the same about card games such ‘Bridge’ and Poker (where there is no ‘execution’ element involved) – but the important difference is there is no ‘luck’ factor involved in chess. No unknowns.

So in chess there are no excuses, no ‘external influencing factors’ you can blame your poor performance on. You lose because you play badly or your opponent plays better than you – straight and simple…

The other main difference is: In many other sposrts (may not be all) you get a chance to forget previous performance, start afresh and make a comeback. For example, in tennis – if you lose a point or a game or a set…you can still improve your game and make comeback.

In chess, once a game begins everything is linked…you cannot just ignore a previous move and start all over again! So in chess, a single mistake costs you the game and there are no comebacks!

Every sport has its pluses and minuses – and it is important to understand the beauty of that sport; and once that is done you really start enjoying the sport thoroughly!

I played squash for the first time less than a year ago…till then I had thought of it just as ‘hitting ball randomly’ and had dismissed it. But when I started playing squash, I got engrossed into it…I started taking interest into understanding the technique and thus realised the beauty of that game.

The same thing happened with me in case of Brigde and F1 racing!

Now the next sports that I want to understand/ learn are American baseball and Golf! -:)

Hopefully I will start liking these sports when I learn the rules/ technique…

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