Chess: victory to the young

27 Jun

A wonderful piece by Tom Vanderbilt in Nautilus about learning chess with his four year old daughter:

“It wasn’t long before it struck me that chess seemed to be a game for the young. When my daughter began doing scholastic tournaments, I would chat up other parents and ask whether they played—usually the reply was an apologetic shrug and a smile. I would explain that I too was learning to play, and the resulting tone was cheerily patronizing: Good luck with that! Reading about an international tournament, I was struck by a suggestion that a grandmaster had passed his peak. He was in his 30s. We are used to athletes being talked about in this way. But a mind game like chess?”

Read the whole piece, it’s a good reflection on how our brains change with age. I particularly like this sentence:

“As we get older, there is one thing at which we get worse: Being a novice.”

I always found it depressing that my phone, even set to the lowest level, can beat me at chess.

2 Responses to “Chess: victory to the young”

  1. 03alwi June 27, 2016 at 11:03 am #

    That is just fascinating. Chess is one game that is for the elite intelligent. There should be more emphasis of such games early on at school.

    • jecgenovese June 27, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

      Thank you for your comment. I am curious why you think “there should be more emphasis of such games early on at school”?
      If it because you think chess is fun and is an important cultural practice, I completely agree. If it is because of claims that chess improves cognitive skills, I am more skeptical.

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