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Why Does Anybody Play Chess?!!

So there’s this little chess gadget, wherein a user can play a computer opponent… I have probably played a thousand times on the “easy” level and I have won exactly one time. And yet, I keep trying…. In frustration I rhetorically blustered “Why on earth does anybody play this game?!!!” Really, sometimes the computer beats me so fast I have hardly blinked when it proudly chirps “check mate!” Ugh. I am, I thought, a fairly intelligent person, capable of learning and theoretically succeeding at chess, but apparently I was wrong. I fail, … over and over and over…. I recall with fondness the ONE time the game had to chirp for me “You Won!”.. seems like years ago now….
But I have learned some very important things along the way: many axioms about failure being a necessity for success are very very true! “Failure is the best teacher” must mean that I am an awesome student of chess… “I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don’t work” and I am well on my way… “There is no failure, only feedback” yeah, well, mr computer opponent, feed back on this…
Seriously, though, I think everybody should play chess. Winning does not teach us anything – but losing provides the opportunity to learn and grow and adapt… and chess provides LOTS of that! And, the key to learning in chess is in weighing out all the options and staying many, many steps ahead of the game. That key, is a foundation of critical thinking, critical information seeking, critical decision making – a key that is far too often missing in today’s world. Health care bills, stimulus packages, reforms of any shape or size, all need to be subject to the rules of chess — everything in life is a trade off and we must look, harder and farther into the future prior to making sweeping changes, to see where those trade offs might come from and impact with crash landings.
Part of the human condition is that we are all “firemen” at heart…. we see fires and we put them out. Thinking about why the fire started, how to prevent the fires in the future, what resources might be needed to enact that prevention, what becomes impacted by taking those resources, what becomes affected by the prevention measures, what needs to be done to minimize the impact to other entities that need those resources, and when that gets done, what else might be affected…. planning, planning, plannnnnnning, and thinking. Most of us aren’t going to do all that, until we see that next puff of smoke in the sky… and might not do more than put out that fire as well. I’m certain that’s why I’m failing at chess – I panic, and in quick efforts to save one piece, I lose another.
The ONE game that I won literally hurt my brain – thinking so many steps ahead and planning out all the moves and the possible counter moves from the computer – but apparently that is what pays off. And it was enough for the computer to learn how to not let me win that way again…
So what have I learned? That everybody should play chess, so we can all have a common ground of understanding how failure feels!! No really, so that we can all learn how much we need to learn about critical thinking and decision making skills… and that even after the 1,000 failure, we have another choice to make… to try again, or not….
I think I’ll go play chess now.

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I learned the value of losing at chess as the 6th best player on my 8th grade chess team. Didn’t win once. But as you said learning to fail is a key success criteria