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.
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?