I cannot remember when I first played chess. Early memories include losing to Dad very often, playing an exciting animated computer version where capturing pieces fought the captured, and peculiar rules variants I created based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail – especially the rules for Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Film. Ever since I learned its rules, its been a game I’ve held an interest in but never held much skill.
My strategy game of choice (on an elliptical cycle, partially based on cash revenue) tends to be Magic: The Gathering. I enjoy its flexibility, the freedom and creativity in creating a deck from collectable trading cards, and the silly, silly things I can sometimes do. Whilst I have often tried to sell my father the tactical and strategic strengths of MTG, he struggles to see it. It’s probably because my major draw is the creativity inherent in the game.Magic is a game of breaking rules, chess one of applying them.
That being said, I do enjoy subverting these rules. I like playing unorthodox openings. I like winning.
I don’t win very often.
I’ve gotten better recently, through a course of Chessmaster lessons and reading a book on better chess*, and now can just edge out my father (who rarely practises these days).
I still can’t beat my phone. A long while back, I downloaded a chess game for my HTC. The interface is beautifully simple and simply beautiful. The AI is hard, and in itself I see this as a major selling point.**
I can beat my dad because I want to. I invest more because the opponent is important.
I should really learn to invest more when I want to.
* Excitingly titled Teach Yourself: Better Chess.
** If you’ve an Android and even a passing interest in chess, I’d highly recommend this app. It’s free and Open Source at its best.