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I had a friend who saw it as a science not an art, read books on opening theory, and always beat me. I played for my school, and had a decent record, but what I mainly remember is that we always got biscuits and orange juice before each match. Schools admired boys who played chess. Unlike the girls at the school, who tended to favour rugby players. As part of my quest, I thought it might make for a poetic experience to return to Newport, the place of my birth, to play in the South Wales summer congress.

I was staying with my parents, who acted as if the intervening 38 years had never happened, making me sandwiches and giving me a Thermos flask of tea to see me through the rigours of the day.

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My first game was on Saturday morning. My opponent had a relatively low grade grades in chess are not unlike golf handicaps, and designate how good players are: the top-rated player in the UK has a grade of around , mine was around and he played like it, giving up a pawn for nothing in the opening, and then losing a piece. The game was effectively over, and it irritated me that he insisted on playing on. He was in a position where he could endlessly check my king with his queen if he wished.

He offered me a draw, trying to mask his relief and disbelief at the mistake that I had made, and I had to accept. I had thrown away an easy win and felt ridiculous. I fled the tournament hall, sat beside the murky waters of the River Usk, bolted my sandwiches, and tried not to burst into tears. This was the most abject failure I had yet had to endure, and it would be difficult to recover.

So much for the poetry of my return to Wales. In the middle of one of my later games at the Newport congress, I suddenly asked myself whether I was really enjoying playing. I had the same thought as I watched the deciding game in my section, in which a year-old was playing a crop-haired, middle-aged man to decide who would take first place.

Both were down to their last few seconds, the youngster was shaking, and almost every move they made was an error, a rook mislaid here, a bishop casually tossed away there. Eventually the crop-haired man lost on time — in tournament chess, moves have to be made in a set time limit — and the year-old had his prize. But the youth looked drained, shell-shocked, incapable of feeling any pleasure at his victory.

Why did we put ourselves through this? I had had similar doubts after that earlier game in Newport when I had thrown away a rook with what may have been the most ridiculous move in the history of chess. Why was I here making a fool of myself? What was the point? John Saunders, a former Welsh international, was giving me occasional coaching as I tried to crack the chess code. But he was also good at offering homilies. Chess is just a bitch that bites you in the arse. Saunders was expressing, albeit less elegantly, a view propounded by HG Wells in an essay entitled Concerning Chess in It annihilates a man.

Does the pain always outweigh the pleasure? Siegbert Tarrasch , the best player in the world though never world champion in the s, thought not. But is that really true? A blog by the English grandmaster Danny Gormally encapsulated the nightmares chess can induce.

Really I was angry at myself. The Dutch grandmaster Hein Donner also captured the pain and paranoia that chess can induce. What seems so easy at first sight in fact puts a greater pressure on the players than any other branch of physical sports. To sit immovably still for five hours on end, in a condition of semi-consciousness, under the heavy burden of a possible mistake — all this opens the door wide to serious distress.

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A chess win offers a high that is almost sexual — that moment of release after sitting at the board for four hours plus. But do the highs make up for the lows? He found it even harder to derive satisfaction from playing once computer chess programs, now available to everyone, became all-seeing and able to spot flaws even in games you thought you had won well. Why do we put ourselves through it? It seemed to be a question that concerned amateurs more than the pros, who had played since they were five and for whom it had become a way of life, as natural as breathing.

Over the board all the dramas and colours of living are continually being played out in imagination. He examines this peculiar passion, the reasons we become addicted. When I set out on my mission, I wanted to grasp the truth of a position and create something beautiful. But as I played in more and more tournaments, I just wanted to win: to beat my opponent and improve my grade.

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But I had also come to see that strength of character, calmness under pressure, the sheer will to win were just as important. Maybe even more important at the amateur level, where errors abound. Kill or be killed. To hell with truth. The romantics would disagree. In the early decades of the 20th century, chess was seen as a beautiful, rarefied pursuit akin to philosophy and the arts.

Why Tell The Truth The Chess Games

The French artist Marcel Duchamp loved the game so much there were rumours that he planned to forgo art to concentrate on chess. Duchamp was an excellent player, good enough to play for France in chess olympiads and to get a draw in a tournament in against Tartakower, a result that pleased him so much that he framed his scoresheet.

There is, though, a conflict at the heart of chess, one that even Duchamp, who did not disguise the inherent violence of the game, recognised. Chess aspires to the condition of art, with beautiful ideas and aesthetically pleasing tactical combinations, but it is also a base struggle to destroy the other player.

Hein Donner addressed the question of whether chess was a profound endeavour or a complete waste of time in a newspaper column published in Has there been a point in all this strenuous effort? This may be done in a very artistic way. In fact, the number of possible moves is so vast that no one has ever been able to calculate it exactly. In the s, mathematician Claude Shannon wrote a paper about how one could program a computer to play chess. Shannon's number came from a rough calculation that used averages instead of exact figures.

It assumed that at any point in the game you'd have an average of 30 legal moves, for example, and that every game has an average of 80 total moves. But that's not how chess works.

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You have many fewer legal moves at the beginning of a game than the end, and games can go much shorter or longer than 80 moves. There are other complications as well: even if you have 30 possible moves, only a few will make sense strategically.

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  • This is why it's such a challenge to calculate the number of possible games of chess, and why to this day, no one has landed on an exact figure. You just joined millions of people that love getting smarter every day. Petersburg, the well-known chess organizer Raymond Keene, Bessel Kok also made it.

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    It was too late for Campomanes to make the list though Yes, he's in a different list now. Salov: We also added Anand and Carlsen. By the way, Carlsen is a very interesting figure in the chess world; I think Viktor Lvovich Korchnoi once said in an interview for your site that he couldn't understand the non-chess methods Carlsen used to win. Surov: He said that numerous times. Salov: Carlsen is very interesting, we're studying him as well.

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    We also added Caruana. How many are there? Surov: Nine. You haven't mentioned Karjakin. Salov: No, we don't touch Serezha Karjakin. Surov: He's not good enough? Salov: Serezha can sleep well, but he should be careful, he should understand where he is and what games he's about to enter. His name begins with an 'S'. That his methods were. Writers' forums Chess and Kabbalah Russian analysis of Jewish matrixes??? Unfortunately, he is there only because of a so-called "New Chronology" As it turns out, Kasparov is a strong advocate of this conspiracy theory, which has nothing to do with chess.

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