My Recently Renewed Obsession With Chess

Posted: May 23, 2011 in Chess

I’m not sure what birthday it was or why I was given this particular gift, but as a child I was given a wooden chess set.  It was one among a few gifts in the box my father had sent me. I took a liking to the game and before I knew it I was playing a lot.  I even ended up in a chess club in second grade and won second place in a class tournament (which I’m pretty sure I cheated somehow to win the game – or if not an outright cheat, then some sort of shifty business… but my lack of morals as a youth will, I imagine, be discussed at a later date).

I can’t say I remember much about that tournament, my understanding of the game, my motivation; but I pretty much never picked the game up since.  I did hold on to the trophy for some time; even after a part of it broke.  To me it represented being good in something – achieving something.  I have since gained skill at other things and as such no longer felt the need to keep the trophy.  I do kind of wonder what happened to it though…

Fast forward about 18 years, and here I am in nursing school, where a friend had caught the chess bug.  This is the type of guy that masters anything he really applies himself to.  He kept wanting to play with me but I always graciously declined.  It just wasn’t my thing.  But his growing obsession had a contagion.

One day, out of nowhere, I decided to buy a chess set.

And so began my journey of chess. 

It is an unbearable frustration that I struggle so much with an intellectual endeavor.  I feel like I am going about it all wrong; like trying to levitate or even meditate – I feel like I’m attempting to flex a muscle that I’ve never used before; like suddenly realizing you have wings but don’t have the neural pathways to use them (and no, it wouldn’t just be like flapping your arms, cause that would just make you, well, flap your arms).  It’s an entirely new way of thinking. Perhaps I’m so obsessed with chess now because it IS a challenge; I can’t just pick it right up and run with it and roll over any competition. 

I must be patient.  I must be thoughtful. I must study and pay attention.  I must *ugh* memorize things.  But most of all, I need to relax my consciousness and let chess become me.  I want to recognize the beauty and potential of a ripe, pregnant position.  I need to feel the glorious triumph and agonizing defeat that plays out in the black and white jungle.  It will all be known to me.  I don’t care if I gotta get punched in the face a thousand times, I will learn to block that punch. 

Anyway…

Now I must balance chess with the rest of my life; with exercise, socializing, art, music – all the things I love to do.  I already feel and see how I’ve began to let myself go physically in just this last month. Balance has always been something I’ve been good at; don’t fail me now, Jason.

Until next time!

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