Exploring life through a game of chess

By Lena Sin, The Province

Vancouver playwright Andrew Laurenson started to learn chess as a way to understand an increasingly complex world.

He never got any good at it. But the skills he did glean helped him get a better grasp on a rapidly changing society, and now he wants to take you inside that game in a play titled Beautiful Problems.

“We’ve actually tried to make the play not really about chess, we’re trying to use it more as inspiration for competition, complexity and our relationship to technology is part of it as well. Really complexity and competition are the two main themes,” says Laurenson, artistic director of Radix Theatre, which is staging the play.

Beautiful Problems follows one man’s personal journey into learning what it means to take responsibility for his life. The story is inspired by one of the most famous chess games of all time: The 1997 Man versus Machine showdown in which Garry Kasparov, thought by many to be the best chess player in history, lost a match to Deep Blue, an IBM supercomputer.

It was considered a watershed moment in technological advancement, the humiliating defeat spelling doom for mankind. But the more Laurenson thought about it, the more he realized the Kasparov match — and his own games — weren’t so much a competition against machine, but a showdown against man and beyond that, himself.

“It was as if Garry was playing several other people at the same time through this program called Deep Blue so it became man vs. man. But beyond that it became man vs. himself because Garry fell into some sort of paranoid thinking, he became bitter, he also became tired and distracted. He became his own enemy in the end because he made these really basic mistakes and he was not able to play what he was capable of.”

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/life/Exploring+life+through+game+chess/4766709/story.html#ixzz1M9y8piXH

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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