The Anatomy of Chess

Chess Pawn
Chess Pawn (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Hey guys, this is Joey, blogger for A Perverse Fraction; my good friend the Digital Vagabond has granted me permission to post a thought or two on his blog.  Which is great because I’ve had this thought for awhile; it’s about chess and the effect it had/has on my mind and how chess can function as a beautiful metaphor for life.  I hope you enjoy the read and if my thoughts or style haven’t bored or offended you then check out my blog at

As my mind mulls over the enigma of chess, I am left with a single question.  How does my current understanding of chess affect my performance in the game and my outlook on life?  Chess is no simple game, it is a game of consequentialism; every move has a consequence, an opening e4 pawn sets the mood of the game; tempo is key and calculation necessary to outsmart your opponent.  Psychological balance must be maintained for the sake of making, if not logical moves, well-reasoned ones.  What troubles my mind in a chess game is the attachment of winning.  A deadly assumption and goal because of the pressure your pride puts on you; it becomes less about sportsmanship and more about the glorification of one’s ego.  There must be distance and some level of objectivity, but also there must be willpower.

Trying to analyze all possible moves at any stage of the game is mentally tiring and can lead to indecisiveness.  Having that courage to make a move and deal with whatever consequences is the height of mental willpower.  It’s frightening yet exciting how that cool detachment to chess pieces can bleed over into one’s daily life; humans are valued less for the feelings you have for them and more for the amount of results they procure you.  This brings me to another thought about chess; chess strengthens strategic logic.

Logic and reason are essential to live life, however much I disobey them through impulses and base desires, but I find that when my brain has slowed its racing thoughts, logic tends to be my stress reliever; even writing down my thoughts is calming the torrents of random fears, desires and thoughts that flood the shores of my conscious waking life.

Chess is a teacher, a severe master, of disciplining a chaotic human nature.  If one thinks about the far-reaching consequences of their choices, whether through action or inaction, the revelation becomes startling.  Soon, the most insignificant decision becomes a glaring and daunting task to consider.  Most people, myself included, don’t consider the effects of a choice, only the desired result we hope for; I call this isolated thinking: the perception that our choices only affect ourselves and not the people or events around us.  But in chess this is not the case.  Your move determines the options of your next move and the move of your opponent.  Strategy versus strategy, mind versus mind, isolated thinking is null and chess shatters the most fragile of walls; and this is probably why some people become frustrated and quit playing.  The game seems too difficult to master.  I know because I felt that way about the game and on my more pessimistic days that self-defeating thought rises up like a hydra I had slain ages ago.

I still keep on despite doubts that plague my mind but II think chess teaches one to wield willpower in the face of doubt because it is only a game and you can always try again until you get better; a tool for improving your own life.

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Captain Gimpy

An intellectual wanderer and cinema enthusiast. Ronald Brady (Captain Gimpy) has been a web designer, videographer and video editor who is currently taking deaf studies courses in the hopes parlaying them into a graduate degree in Disability Studies in the hopes of becoming a better advocate and a better human. He currently spends free time watching and reviewing films for his own cinephilic pleasure.

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