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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Chess: The Universal Game

There are two things I find especially appealing about chess:

1) The nearly endless intellectual stimulation it offers, and

2) The fact that age, gender, physical size, financial status, and pretty much any other demographic indicators are relatively irrelevant to what one can attain in chess.

This isn't entirely true, of course, since some factors can offer some advantages, but by and large, the person who puts in the effort will succeed in chess, as in life.

A chess tournament, especially a scholastic chess tournament, may be one of the few places where so many disparate people can get together - men, women, boys, girls, whites, blacks, hispanics, Indians, Asians, Jews, Christians, Muslims, old, young, and people of all other races and religions - in a spirit of relative camaraderie.

In chess, we seem to have more than our share of oddballs, but we also have a good number of caring, intelligent high achievers. In my Scholastic Chess column at ChessCafe, I try to stress the many positive chess stories that remind me of why I was attracted to chess in the first place.

An interesting blog post appears at the Boylston Chess Club blog, entitled Chess and Bigotry. You don't have to agree entirely with the opinions expressed, but the post gave me pause for thought and is well worth your time to look at.

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