Games come and go, but chess — one of the most ancient — persists and grows.
Life is like a chess game, said Colonial sage Benjamin Franklin. Marching to a similar beat, polymath Johann Wolfgang von Goethe described it as the “the touchstone of the intellect.” French philosopher Blaise Pascal elevated it to the “gymnasium of the mind.”
Chess is more than a simple or even profound game, of which many types exist.
Siegbert Tarrasch, a physician and consummate player, explained its appeal in basic human terms: “Chess, like love and music, has the power to make men happy.”
The game’s continued popularity indicates that something essential and critically important to the human experience has been magically transferred to 32 pieces and a 64-square board.
People need struggles and challenges, said New York psychiatrist and chess master Ariel Mengarini — and chess offers those when many other facets of life don’t.
Five-time U.S. chess champion Larry Evans summarized: “Chess is a way of life. It allays boredom and exhilarates the spirit. You’re always thinking, always in present time. You know you’re alive. You are always being challenged and threatened. There is no social purpose, only the joy of trying to create a pocket of beauty in a noisy world.”
Need more be said?