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Queen's Gambit Makes Me Want to Play Chess Less | A Pawn's Perspective

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My wife and I just finished watching Netflix's Queen's Gambit, a mini-series based on Walter Tevis' novel of a female chess prodigy named Beth Harmon....

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Supporter2 months ago

I have not watched the Queens Gambit.

That being said I do sympathize with your reaction. I am scared to enjoy abstracts with a high skill ceiling. I used to enjoy chess, and I think I could really get back into it..... But, it scares me. I like Go, but, I am scared to play anyone I know who knows it. And, honestly I think my reticence has more to do with not wishing to provide a suboptimal experience for my opponent than a personal fear of losing.

2 months ago

Interesting that you feel less compelled to play a game after discovering it has a really high skill ceiling. Before reading, I thought that it would stem from something about the game or the show itself, but it appears to be a very personal reaction instead. Has this applied to board games for you? For example, seeing highly ranked players on Board Game Arena, or other games that have developed their own competitive scenes (#Scythe Digital Edition comes to mind for me, what incredible talent from top rated players!).

Partner2 months ago

I feel there's a difference between euro games and abstract games. A top-ranked chess player is MUCH farther above my skill level than an expert Scythe player.

2 months ago

I get that. Especially with the games you mentioned having centuries to develop strategies!

2 months ago

Chess is my main passion in life and I'm rated around the 1800-1900 range on Lichess. Certainly nothing special ratings wise but it has taken a lot of study and thousands of games to get there.

I'm sorry that the skill ceiling puts you off and I find it unfortunate that chess is always pitched in these terms. I often hear people say "chess makes me feel stupid" or "it would take years to get good". Not enough people talk about how chess should be for everyone and you can enjoy it whatever level you are at.

Maybe running is an analogy. If you wanted to take up running and you started by watching marathon runners breaking world records and wanting to be like them, you'd be frustrated and sad to run slowly, right? If you start running and find that running is fun, then maybe one day you'd do a marathon. Chess is fun! The only reason I got better is because I was enjoying myself while I sucked.

The thing I most wish I could impart to non-chess players is the sheer beauty of an 'immortal' game (a timeless classic performance by a grandmaster). It sounds cheesy, but scrolling through the moves is like listening to a great piece of music or something. I feel excitement and awe at the moves they found. I would never get that experience by watching back a game of Scythe or something lol.

Anyway, I hope I haven't put you off further with my rant... but if you manage to find a way to just enjoy chess for the inherent fun of being at the board, that would make me happy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!  

Premium User2 months ago

That's so interesting you'd have that reaction when it seems most other's seem to have the opposite. I can't say that I am a great chess player. I truly am the very definition of Jon Snow. I was however very interested during at least 2 phases of my life. Once in elementary school I was actually in a chess club and got destroyed by the same people often. I don't remember this ever discouraging me as much as it challenged me to become better and learn more. The other time I was most interested in chess was when I first met my fiancée. At the time she was my girlfriend and we were out walking around at a nearby market like area and they had outdoor chess tables set up. We played and had a lot of fun (or at least that's how I remember it lol). She later got me a chess set for my birthday but we rarely (if ever) played much as it was shortly thereafter we got into board games.

The show must at least be interesting for you to want to read the book so maybe I'll suggest it to her and we'll see what happens. Who knows maybe we'll have to find that chess set again lol.

2 months ago

lol interesting, though I haven't watched Queen's Gambit

Supporter2 months ago

I've always had a hard time getting into abstract games. I just prefer games with more of a theme. I haven't watched this series either.

2 months ago

I shy away from two player games that have no luck. I feel like then it's either a direct battle of intellects making one person feel superior, or a battle of experience, where one person is superior.  Throw in a bit of randomness and I'm fine.  I ditched #Santorini for that reason, and avoid playing chess.

2 months ago

I finished watching this series last night actually. I was fascinated by it. I've never been into chess (in fact I think I only ever tried it once or twice) so the show had the opposite effect on me. I really want to try it now, although I definitely don't have any delusions of reaching grandmaster level at any point haha.

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