Crossing that Bridge: When Chess Becomes More than ‘Just a Game’

In high school, there was always one phrase that would annoy me no matter when it was said – “You compete in chess? But that’s like… just a game!” Yeah, ok. Technically chess is a sport, albeit a sport of minds.

For almost all people, chess does start out as ‘just a game.’ It’s something we go to when we’re feeling tired or down – a source of entertainment or a distraction from what is going on in our daily lives. Something I never realized until I got to high school was just how much this so-called ‘game’ meant to me. It had become part of me and my identity. Soon, I was known as ‘that girl who plays chess’ and even today, in college I get that all the time.

So when does one start to realize what chess means in their lives? For me, it was when I started playing for myself, for the enjoyment of the game rather than the success of the wins. I started to go to tournaments because I missed chess not because I wanted to win my section. It was also around that time that I became proud to be a chess player. Soon, the confused but amazed faces my peers when they found out I was a player amused me rather than scared me.

chess

Now, I know there are some of you out there who have also felt this change in what chess means in your life – what was it that led you across this bridge?

 

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One thought on “Crossing that Bridge: When Chess Becomes More than ‘Just a Game’

  1. Thanks for sharing your observations, which should provide inspiration to other chessplayers looking to cross that threshold. I think that it’s an important psychological moment when we can unshackle ourselves from particular short-term results and focus on pursuing excellence and quality in our game. It’s also part of accepting who we are and enables us to experience more joy and calm rather than frustration and feeling a need for excuses.

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