Off Topic: Chess

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Since chess is already in the news, it's a perfect time to talk about our experiences and memories with the iconic game.

Here's some of my earliest memories with chess.

  • It was one of the games, when very little, I used to play with my father. I'm almost certain he always let me win, but he was kind enough to make it an interesting match. That's probably because I'm more competitive than most of my family, but I appreciated the fact that it was something both of us would do together. We played on scout trips, family holidays, and a couple of times in those public chess spaces outdoors.
  • At primary school, for whatever reason, the deputy principal's grandfather would sometimes sit down with me and we would play some matches. I don't think I learned much, if anything at all, beyond the basic rules. My primary school didn't have a lot of extra curricular activities for kids that were decent in class; despite being a Catholic school, it was never really flush with money.

    I don't remember a great deal about that old bloke, although I remember enjoying the quiet respite of our games.

  • I went to a chess club in Camden a couple of times, around an hour or so south-west of Sydney. It was a pretty competitive environment, and although I was more competitive than my family I wasn't at the point where zero-sum games was something I actively sought out. That'd change later in life (thanks Counter-Strike, StarCraft), but while I was at the chess club I was content to fuck about, make stupid moves, and generally give two shits.

    Kids who take chess really seriously, at least the ones I met, were really unpleasant. I ended up spending more time playing cards through high school and as I got older; it was more social, and there was something enticing about devising a strategy around what you can't see.

What were your experiences with chess like?


    I like chess, but I'm not very good at it. Now that I think of it, I don't think I've ever won a single game against a real life opponent.

    Chess is one of many games that I wish I'd put the time into getting good at. Never did and now it seems like too much of an investment for too little of a return.

    Maybe once I have kids. Then I can train them up to hustle people in parks.

      There's a natural ceiling where 'getting better' tops out and it's all study from there.
      That's about where I stopped because I'm far too lazy for that sort of thing.

    I'm rubbish, but I like teaching new players.

    the common room at uni was pretty viciously competitive, but I did manage to get through one game of a tournament before bombing out against the common room hustlers.

    im not a great chess player. its almost like its a right of passage as a child. my father taught me to play, taught me the basics, i dont think ive ever won a game against a human opponent and i wouldnt know a thing about tactics.

    but, its come full circle, my dad gave me his chess set recently, the one i had learnt to play on, and my daughter is now 4 and in to learning about games. she begged to play with me, so im slowly teaching her about how all the pieces move and to try and think ahead one or two moves, i won the first game i played with her then i let her win the second game (playing some moves for her of course) its funny how time slips away.

    i played with her the other night after dinner, and before i knew it, my wife was like, c'mon, its almost her bedtime, you've been playing for over an hour.

    anything that creates and promotes positive interaction and relationship without the use of technology, is great in my books.

    When I was in primary school I entered a chess competition. I had one game to win and I made it to the off-school competition.

    I was dominating the game and the kid i versed moved a piece into a "check" position, I didn't realise and he didn't call check. I moved another piece next turn and it took my king right after.. never felt so cheated in my life that he got to go on this trip when he was looking so far :( scarred for life

    Chess is hard and I don't know what I'm doing, would probably do better if I just let a roll of the dice pick which piece I move instead.

    I haven't had a real live game in years and years, but a friend and I do play via SMS. We each have a magnetic travel board set up at home with the current game on it and text the moves like d4, Nc6 etc.
    Games last weeks, and we might go days or even a couple of weeks between moves, but it's still a bit of fun.

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