Chess

The best website on the internet for playing online chess, is Lichess.org. I found this website when looking for a good site to play online chess on, and compared to other sites that I’ve checked out, Lichess is the least convoluted, and easiest to use. They also have an awesome application for mobile platforms.

Having played ranked chess for about a year now, my ranking has increased from an initial rating of about 1100, which in the global chess hierarchy is something like total noobism (Lichess uses the Glicko-2 rating system), to 1400’ish currently, although I’ve beaten people ranked as high as 1750 a few times. Chess is one of those games that can and/or will drive you insane. Despite having been an avid gamer my whole life, and having an advanced diploma in game development, the only games that I have played in the past year are Alien: Isolation, Planetside 2, and Chess.

Chess has the power to compromise the integrity of your sanity for a number of reasons. It’s frustratingly unpredictable in the sense that you can have a huge points lead and still get your ass handed to you on a diamond-encrusted silver platter. Not only that, but one wrong move (referred to as a blunder), can cost you the game. Couple this with the necessity to predict your opponent’s moves as well as your own up to five, six, or more moves ahead, and yes, you can see why chess is a game that has become associated with many eccentric, serious practitioners.

That’s because chess is not about how many pieces you have or the value of pieces you have remaining, as much as it is about tactical positioning. It’s extremely interesting as much as it is rewarding to win a game by advancing your positioning through the blatant sacrifice of pieces. There are a number of ways to play the game. Premeditated or adaptive, aggressive or defensive, each with their own unique outcomes.

One of the most interesting things to me about chess, is the notion that the principles essential to its practice are universally translatable to many facets of life in general. Some examples include the necessity to plan ahead, weighing the consequences of your actions, and risk assessment. Other examples are less benign and more sinister, and include coordinated deception, or maximizing the effectiveness of a single move by giving it the effect of two moves at once, such as moving your knight into position to attack your opponent’s queen, which simultaneously placed their king in check via your bishop’s line of fire that your knight had been blocking. Now the queen is toast, and somebody hates you unless they read a lot of Eckhart Tolle.

You could probably go even deeper and try to find more profound and esoteric connections between the advanced game-theory of chess, and the relationships between different variables in reality. Who knows? Just remember, that the President of the World Chess Federation literally believes that Chess was brought to Earth by Aliens from outer space.

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