educator, writer, speaker, devoted family man, amateur philosopher, chess enthusiast, basketball junkie, connoisseur of fine hip hop, and purveyor of wit and wisdom
I am addicted to chess. It’s more than simply loving chess…I think it’s consuming me to the point where it becomes an imposition on other parts of my life. Actually, this has been the case with me for a few years now, but lately it’s expanded a bit. My chess addiction now includes this need to read pages and pages of chess blogs as well.
I don’t get it. I don’t understand why chess is consuming me so.
I play chess everyday. I read chess blogs all the time (and most of them are not really that good). I collect chess boards…and I’m running out of space in my house for them all (I currently have over $2000 worth of chess sets…right now I’m looking for the classic Avon Chess bottles from the 1970’s…just in case any of you come across them in your spare time.)
I have a favorite blog. It’s written by a guy named Chessloser and his blog is called “Hardcore Pawnography”. Here is an example of his writing (this particular post of his back in 2007 may be his most well-known piece, if I’m not mistaken.) This piece describes what it’s like for most of us who have this love/hate relationship with chess.
I started reading through some of my favorite chess blogs, and it finally hit me…this chess addiciton could be a very real thing and not just a joke. I started searching a bit more and found that several people have fallen victim to the intoxicating effects of the game. And it’s not only the highly rated chess players…there’s a fascination with chess that permeates all levels of ability.
There are plenty of dry and straight forward blogs where folks document their most recent games, but there are some very well-written chess blogs (like this one here), and even blogs on the chess world’s most famous historical figures and games (like Blunderprone’s blog ). Of course, “Hardcore Pawnography” is my favorite with such chess addicted writings as this one about Chessloser’s tattoo, and this one about the anguish we feel after losing.
It’s not only that I am constantly thinking about chess (this is probably true for most people…right?) But it goes further than that. For example, I approach many people I work with in “chess-like” ways. I strategically approach future conversations and meetings, having several conversations in my head with my colleagues in order to fully play out all possible scenarios.
When I walk on a chessboard-patterned tile, I sometimes walk the diagonal of a bishop…or worse yet, jump from square to square in knight moves. (And YES, the pattern should be referred to as a chessboard pattern and NOT a checkerboard pattern…chess came first chronologically.)
I don’t have the time to spend hours playing chess online, so I check my current ongoing games (hee hee…I said “check”) in really quick 2-minute spurts. (I play at www.chess.com I currently have 20 games going simultaneously…which is a bit low for me ever since I’ve been busy with school. Years ago, it was normal for me to have over 40 correspondence games going at once.)
But lately it’s been getting worse. Lately, I’ve tried to stay up late and check on my games…last night, I fell asleep right there on the computer keyboard.
Recently, I told Donovan that I had to use the bathroom and that I would be right back. After I came from the bathroom, I just went to the computer…you know…just to check and see if someone moved in any of my games (no one had moved yet). “No worries,” I said to myself. “I’ll just play this real quick blitz game and go back downstairs.” An hour or so later, Donovan comes upstairs looking for me. That’s not normal. I’m doing what addicts do.
I’m not sure if I need help (or if I even want help). Do 12-step programs exist for folk like me?
Okay…I gotta go check my games…I mean, you know, since I’m here on the internet and all.