Saturday, July 28, 2007

Game of the week: Chess and Chessfest 2007

Chess, similar to Go, is a tough game for the "gamer" to get into. By a "gamer" I mean the sort of person who likes games generally, as epitomized by the folks over at
The problem is that Chess,like Go, is a profoundly deep game of longstanding and intense devotion among a fairly large group of players. It has its own literature, clubs and professional players. It's been intensely analyzed to such an extent that a casual player will have no chance of winning against an aficionado. Unlike Backgammon or Poker, where the presence of a certain amount of luck provides scope for an upset, in Chess and Go there's no external factor that can help the casual player.
Being a gamer of eclectic tastes then, it's no surprise that I'm only an indifferent chess player. I have a few books, coached my kids' chess club in school and fiddled around with playing for about 40 years. But I've never devoted any study to chess openings, which is pretty much a prerequisite for serious play, so I don't consider myself a serious chess player.
But I do enjoy watching a good game and like to see the game become more popular, so it was nice to see that the local Chessfest event in New London seems to be off to a good start. I missed it entirely last year because of military duty and I wasn't able to take part this year because of some local "family taxi" chores, but I did get to observe some of it. It looks like several dozen people took part in three divisions -- youth, amateur and open. It was a diverse group too: Male and female, tiny and grey-bearded, American- and foreign-born.
I do think I'll go ahead and take a stab at it next year. I may not do very well, it it sure did look like everyone was enjoying themselves.

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