I also have never learned to like chess. Sure, I’ve tried to play chess a few times, but I guess I wasn’t sharp enough to capture the little nuances that make the game special to so many people. One of the little nuances that I had trouble grasping was the nuance of having to wait an hour or so while the person I was playing figured out his next move. Look, I’m a pretty patient guy most of the time. But cooling my heels while someone tries to decide if he wants to move his pawn, or rook or race car (wait, that’s Monopoly) is not something I want to do.
Given my disdain for chess, I had to laugh Friday when I saw a story in The New York Times (motto: “Our crossword puzzle can beat up your crossword puzzle”) about a chess match in Kolkata, India. According to the story, chess Grandmaster Vladislav Tkachiev showed up for a big match against a chess player from India having had a little too much to drink. Well, what the story said was Vladislav arrived at the chess match “in such an inebriated state that he could hardly sit in his chair and soon fell asleep, resting his head on the table.”
Finally, someone has figured out a way to make chess fun: Drink heavily. If I knew it was possible to play chess drunk, then I might have taken it a little more seriously. That’s why a lot of folks like to bowl: You can drink while you bowl.
You can’t, as far as I’m concerned, take part in a NASCAR race while drinking. Nor is it a good idea to drink while hunting (are you listening, certain former vice president?). That’s why I don’t like to drive race cars or hunt.
The story in the Times said a newspaper in India ran photos of Vladislav sleeping and organizers’ “futile attempts to wake him up.”
Is that great or what?
Sign up for my free email chess course for Beginners and Club Players. In this free course, I focus on helping beginner chess players see the entire board. You will learn how to attack your opponent from move 1 and create a new threat with every single move! I’ve created this series of lessons designed to help beginner and club level players understand the game at a deeper level so that you can start beating higher rated players immediately. Start getting free tips from me directly to your inbox!
– GM Susan Polgar