Yesterday I played chess for the first time in years. And I had such an amazing time. The first few games I was getting absolutely thrashed.
I had no idea what I was doing.
I was moving pieces to random places on the board and soon enough I found myself in the midst of a total massacre.
I looked at my twitch chat and the comments were hilarious. One user said,
“I am crying tears of blood.”
In fact, it was so hard for this man to watch me he had to help. He offered to come into my chat room and coach me as how to play. I quickly accepted the offer. He goes by the name “ACE” and I will be honest he lives up to it pretty well. He is quite the chess player. We started another game and he coached me through it and it showed. ACE’s moves absolutely destroyed the other player.
And what was so cool about it was how it took time to build up.
At first it appeared that not much was happening. Moving a piece here and a piece there, but eventually we had amassed our army on a couple key squares with which we put the enemy in a precarious position.
Once he finally made his move, then we would have him.
And that was in fact how it worked out. The enemy made one mistake and then we capitalized and it was over. This affected me. I finally saw just how chess really works. Over the years I had thought about playing, always knowing that I could be a really great chess player. I am a smart individual and mathematics in particular is a strong suit of mine; even though I hardly do math anymore. I remember back in high school when I took my SAT. I was expecting to do well on the English section and okay on the Math section. But I remember going through the Math portion vividly. I knew the answers, I was able to solve the problems. That is the thing with math, when you do it correctly, you know you are right. There can only be one answer, unlike English where much can be left for interpretation. On the SAT I only missed the last problem, and I know that because I remember when I came to it I forgot the technique required for it. I was pissed. I knew at that point that I had gotten every other question right, but on that one I had to guess. So I did.
When I got the results back I was floored. I got a 790 out of 800.
This took years for me to set in. I always thought that I wasn’t that good at math because whenever I took an honors or accelerated class I would get a B. So I erroneously concluded that I was bad. But really it was just my pace of learning. Accelerated classes were too fast for me. You put me in a regular math class and I seldom had to take Math finals because my grades were at 99% or above. It all came down to how I was being taught.
I filed that away and realized that I do have a math brain. I may not want to study math, but I do have the brain for it. I know I can be good at chess, I just need to study up and apply myself. But I will.
I am already getting addicted.
I played games on my iPad as I fell asleep, and I played more this morning when I did my IRL stream. And I will play more as I work today in the office when I can get a moment in. I am coming for chess and I am excited to get some more wins under my belt and understand how the game works. It really is quite fun.
The best part about chess too is that it is timeless.
You can play it forever, in fact because the game has been around forever. Video Games come and go, but chess is here to stay. This makes me feel quite comfortable about dedicating time to learning it. Unlike Counter Strike, Rainbow 6, and World of Warcraft which I dedicated much time and got proficient at, those games are only temporary and have not and will not last like Chess will. After playing so many games for years that I loved, but at the same time got tired of, I am excited to play a game that I know will continue to be present for all years of my life. And further, the skill ceiling is ever increasing.
There is always someone better to play and a new theory to tackle.
Man it would be rad to achieve a Master Rank. Screw hunting for Global Elite in Counter Strike, I’m after a chess rank. The best time to start is now. Cheers to the grind everyone, and if you haven’t looked into chess before, I highly recommend giving it a go.