Gambit

December 13th 2020

Today I can’t stop playing chess. I make it a habit not to have any games downloaded onto my phone, because I’m liable to become obsessed with them, and that’s kind of happened with chess. Admittedly, there are worse games to become addicted to. Chess is not the same thing as Candy Crush, for instance.

Naturally, it’s Netflix’s fault.

I binge-watched the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit a little while back, and since then I’ve been playing a lot. There’s a guy at work I’ve played a couple times (he’s very very good, but I did beat him once! (because he accidentally resigned)). Also, I’ve beaten my Dad one time out of one game. Other than that, I’ve just been playing against the computer. It’s weird, really, because the computer could beat me every single time if it wanted to, but it’s programmed to make mistakes now and then.

I’m not programmed to do it, but I’m error-prone too. I focus too much on my strategy, and don’t see what’s going on in the background. The Queen’s Gambit used different strategies as a way of conveying the different character’s personalities. The chess.com app even programmes the different bots to have different strategies dependent on their personalities.

I wonder what my strategy says about me.

I have a solid, structured start because I’ve memorised the best ways to approach. And then I lose my way a bit in the middle when things start to get difficult. I will happily sacrifice a piece to take another. And then, towards the end, I don’t have the killer instinct to kill a game off.

Even if I know I’m not going to win, even if I’m sure that I can see what’s coming, I’ll never resign, I’ll carry on playing, allowing my defences to get weaker, and weaker, until eventually I’m out of moves, and the outcome is decided for me.

I wonder what that says about me?

Until tomorrow, it probably says I’m not very good at chess.

Jacn

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