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Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Chess to me is a learning experience

Chess to me is a learning experience. Everytime I play, be it someone new or an a well practiced rival I am learning new tricks and plays. When I first revived my chess playing; I was given a Simpson's Chess Set for my 25th Birthday by my wife, having not played since about the age of 8 or so, when it was constantly frustrating being the youngest of 4 boys, I would get beaten everytime, and so gave up at that point- I played against a good friend for six months, as we both worked evening shifts, whilst I looked after my children at home. He had been playing chess since his early years, in fact a champion of several chess clubs where he grew up. This was a learning experience for me straight off the bat, as he showed little or no mercy. For the first six months, I felt like I was the 8 year old again, constantly losing against a bigger brother!

I promised not to give, and he started to "take back" moves, so that every game was not a write off, and soon I started to spot my mistakes and how three or so moves ago, they could have been prevented, and also establishing position in regard to covering squares and keeping them for later etc. The defensive tactics I learnt as a result of his aggressive battering were priceless. Through watching these assualts on my defenses I also managed to copy some of his game plans. I found that as he was well seasoned that I could more or less read his game from the opening moves, and so could counter with unpredictable or unprecedented moves, casting a piece or two of mine along the way to "trick" him into a believe of  having the better hand. Often this would result in me being able to trap him inside his own pieces and unable to block or move out of the way of checkmates.

Once I had beaten him once the flood gates really did open, I found I understood his game better and mimiced this sometimes and then changed tack along the way to throw him off the scent.

Since then I have had the pleasure of playing a lot of different players, even my 4 year old daughter occasionally comes out with a move that I had not counted on, and again I find myself learning from this. I will not tell about the 11 year old who can probably now call himself my equal on the board. As I started this story, Chess to me means constantly learning new ways of going about tasks, they may seem repetitive at times, be them in life in general, the opening moves of a game, or indeed the last few where you know there is no way out, but each and every game I have learned something.

Applying this in the wider sense to my life is perhaps not entirely to be attributed to chess, but I have noticed that I plan ahead, calculate the unknown (Their responses are not always what you were hoping for on the board), and weigh up all possibilities in my working and social life more since my wive presented me with my set.

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