Thursday, December 08, 2005

Remember it's a game

My company just hired a contract programmer from North Carolina to do some work on our mobile device application, and he came up to New York to get started learning the code.

Turns out Ralph's a chessplayer, and I took him to the Marshall Chess Club last night. He watched some of the tournament games in progress, took some photos of the Great Hall, played a little blitz; had a fine time.

I wound up playing a couple of untimed casual games against a gentleman named John. He's a club member, but I don't recall meeting him before. I don't go to the club much except when I'm playing a tournament. Our last game was a battle royal, a seesaw affair that went down to the last Pawn. It was a Rook's Pawn, and so it was a draw--a fitting conclusion to a hard-fought game.

I forgot how much fun casual chess can be. Without the pressure of the clock, without ratings or money on the line, the game becomes part of a conversation. A little friendly banter over the moves, a pretty quick pace (I reconstructed the game scores at home later, and we played about 90 moves in perhaps an hour and a half) but you can take a few minutes over a move when you feel the need, a battle fought keenly but not grimly.

I forgot how much fun chess can be. Thank you, John, for helping to remind me.

Yes I agree.

We've become too competitive. What's the point of winning if you can't have any fun.

I used to be too serious. Now I take a step back and enjoy my games even in competitive chess. I've annotated 2 of my games using audio at my blog at:
I love the Yiddish in your blog name.

( I assume you refer to stealing pawns or somesuch. )

I recall Pandolfini describing Fred
Reinfeld as a "farbissiner".
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