Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chess With Soul

An NBA basketball player, I believe it was Bobby Jones, who played for the Nuggets and the Sixers in the 70's and 80's, once said that pro basketball was like "chess with soul."

Well, eff that cracker! I'll tell you what's like chess with soul: good chess. I'll tell you something I hate: the end of an NBA basketball game with a close score, because of the many many fouls and timeouts causing it to draaaaaaaag. If it was up to me, when there was 5 minutes or less left on the clock there would be no more timeouts allowed and every foul would be a technical. Then we'd see some exciting down-to-the-wire fast-moving basketball action. Obviously, and unfortunately, it's not up to me at the moment, and so that leaves us with chess.

What? What's that? you ask. Fast-moving action, in chess?

That's right, Chester. Because most serious chess played today is blitz chess, with each side given a total of 3 to 10 minutes or so to make all their moves. You move, your clock stops winding down and your opponent's clock starts winding down, until he or she moves and his or her clock stops winding down and yours starts again. What's that? You say you need a time out to think things over? No! No! No timeouts! No breaks! No mercy! There might be 15 moves a side in the last 10 seconds, each side with 5 seconds and moving 3 times a second. That's not unheard of. That's way too fast for any commentator to tell you anything about what's going on while it's going on. The moves are recorded, you can study what happened afterward. While it's going on it's just a question of whether your brain can move fast enough to let your eyes see what's happening.

But hey. Blitz isn't even the fastest chess. There's lightning chess, with, say for instance, 1 minute per side. An average game might be about 40 moves per side long, that gives you an average of one and a half seconds to think about each move. If you get yourself into an effed-up position and you think about one move for, say, 5 seconds, that will seriously eat up your clock.

It's insane.

You can watch. You can watch right now. Go here and, if you don't want to play, if you just want to watch, enter "help observe" and dig it.

You're welcome for blowing your mind.

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