Chess Is a Street Fight


“By some ardent enthusiasts’ Chess has been elevated into a science or an art. It is neither; but its principal characteristic seems to be – what human nature mostly delights in – a fight.” (Emanuel Lasker)

“Chess is war over the board. The object is to crush the opponents mind.” (Bobby Fischer)

“Chess is ruthless: you’ve got to be prepared to kill people.” (Nigel Short)

These quotes above represent my current attitude towards competitive chess. I’ve always been competitive relating to chess and I enjoy winning very much. Oher attitudes towards the game are of course also acceptable, like playing for fun or scientific interest. In secondary school, I played in a lot of live tournaments and won a lot of games.

In high school, I hit a wall relating to chess; I wasn’t mentally strong enough to handle the losses.

Why am I going to start playing in live tournaments again this fall then? Wouldn’t it be better to just be and live in peace? The answer is no. One reason for starting this blog was to return chess playing and studying chess into my life. I realied that it’s the only thing I’ve ever been especially good at and I want to develop my skills forward. The things chess has taught to me are often in my mind and I apply them continuously for example in school.

I also realized that my attitude towards chess was wrong. I was afraid to make a fool of myself with a poor performance. I stated to play tthat boring, “safe” chess and my tactical ability got worse. And as they say in poker, scared money don’t make money. I lost, because I was afraid of losing.

I’ve thought about comparing chess to a street fight. They have a lot in common. Of course street fights are faster and physically dangerous, bt I see some of the same principles in them and I want to start applying some street fight-mentality to my chess game. I either want to win in a spectacular way or lose in a bitter fight to the end. Getting the stuff kicked out of you hurts, but it also teaches you things and in chess lost games are always followed by a new game.

I want to play all of my competitive games with the following traits:

1. I want to be as imaginative on the board as the Batman-villain Joker

2. I want to apply Breaking Bad’s Walter White’s comment “I am the one who knocks” on my game. I want to take the initiative and attack in my games

3. I prepare for my gaames and analyze my games afterwards. I’m not bringing a knife into a gunfight.

Is chess art, science or a fight in your opinion? Why do you play and/or study chess?

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