Why Play Chess?

The scene:

Boring Bob

Boring Bob is the cynical customer.

Sexy Susan is the sales representative selling chess enthusiastically.

Sexy Susan

Boring Bob: Why would I want to play chess? I mean its like watching paint dry after all isn’t it?

Sexy Susan: Well, where do I start? The game can be very beautiful when you get to know it better. You can play beautiful sacrifices and combinations to make beautiful games. You can have the satisfaction of outwitting your opponent tactically or positionally.You can enjoy watching your chess grade go up year after year, because there is a grading system both nationally and internationally. This can give you a tremendous sense of achievement.

Boring Bob: But it takes ages doesn’t it. You have to sit there for ages just for your opponents reply.

Sexy Susan: There is a wide range of time-limits which you can play chess to. For example if you wanted a quick game, then there is what is know as "blitz" chess which can be from 3 minutes to 30 minutes. But also when your opponent is thinking, you can still try and second guess your opponent’s reply and make plans in preparation.

Boring Bob: But even to learn the moves would take ages wouldn’t it? And then there’s all those fancy words to learn. I mean with the game of pool for example, you can get into it immediately.

Sexy Susan: No, learning the moves and terminology can be learnt in a very short time. After learning the basic rules, there are teaching resources on the web such as at Exeter’s chess club. Once you have learned the basics, you can start playing chess and enjoying it. There is even chess on the web now for example at Chess Corner or the Internet Chess Server (ICC) so whatever level that you are at, you can find an opponent which you have a chance of beating and start building your confidence up.

Boring Bob: But then there’s all those openings to learn which would take ages and would not be very interesting would it?

Sexy Susan: You can choose openings which suit your style and personality. Some openings you may find more dull than others. If you're really worried about having to know loads of theory, you can avoid certain lines. The important thing is to know the principles and themes behind the moves. Then the moves will follow naturally. Some people do get enjoyment from the vast amount of opening theory there is in chess, because they are in search of the "ultimate truth". Because chess is much more complex than say noughts and crosses, the "ultimate truth" is very difficult if not impossible to arrive at. But this simply adds to the enjoyment of the game! Top grandmasters are "discussing" opening ideas when they play each other. They add value to the existing opening theory which has to evolve in order to search for the truth.Also nowadays, with programs like Chessbase, you can learn openings in a more enjoyable way because games can be stored with full multimedia sound effects and movies. You can even get the advice of programs such as Fritz to try and find that "ultimate truth".

Boring Bob: But what will chess give me which will be useful in other areas? I mean its just a game after all.

Sexy Susan: Well to be a good chess player, you have to develop your talents as a manager, an artist, a competitor, a logical thinker, a psychologist, and a team player to name but a few.

Boring Bob: I don't believe you! How can chess for example be useful for your managerial skills?

Sexy Susan: Well in some games, you can use a beautiful sacrifice which your opponents and on-lookers didn’t expect, or it can be a systematic accumulation of small advantages to accomplish your overall goal, which you look back at that game like an Artist looks back at his masterpiece. And because there is a notation for writing down your game, you share it with chess friends and other people that also have an interest in the game. Nowadays you can even publish them on the Internet to share them with the world!

Boring Bob: Well okay, but how is chess competitive? I mean after all its played between 2 eighty year pensioners with false teeth who have got no better way to spend their afternoons.

Sexy Susan: Well chess is becoming a young person’s game with most grandmasters in their twenties. There are lots of tournaments being organised every year. Take a look at the event calendar on Barnet Chess Club's site. There are also loads of clubs which you can join which have leagues and cups, and trophies to be won. Playing for a chess club, where you are part of team, can give you a flavour of team comradry, and team effort. Chess will provide you with an interesting "escape" It can take your mind off everyday problems, and take you into its own world and thus help you relax. But don’t just listen to me, about what I think, have a look at some famous chess quotes from people that have really played enjoyed the game to a high level.

Boring Bob: Well I might give it a try. Maybe there’s more to chess than meets the eye.

The end!