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  1. #1
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    Default On Chess Culture

    I have become increasingly engrossed in the world of chess. As Bobby Fischer himself has stated, and I share similar sentiments, all I want to do, ever, is just play chess. The chess club I recently joined at the university I attend is perfect for me. Picture a big room with a high ceiling and oak walls--something not unlike an old English club minus the cigar smoke, but very aristocratic looking--and in there some people playing blitz chess, others kibitzing, others discussing the Critique of Pure Reason, and others analyzing chess positions. Each one contributes to the chess world in his own way. Each is chess. Among the club are some masters and high-rated players--with actual ratings around the 2000s. At one point, people began playing through a game played by masters and analyzing a particular position for about half an hour or so. I was particularly interested in the fact that upon trying a given contingency some would bluntly say outloud, "that doesn't feel right" or "that can't be good." Note that in this sense "feel" is used to denote intuition, that is, perception of truth without calculation. And often, once the following moves were calculated it turned out that the intuition was correct, though not always. Nonetheless, I thought the role of intuition as forming judgments from the basis of snapshots of the chess board was interesting, and that often the intuition would inform the rational calculations. I was also pleased that my visuo-spatial pattern faculty was sharper than usual. I was seeing moves that persons rated 2000 weren't seeing until 2 or 3 moves later. I won a few games in blitz against players rated 2000. And the games I lost were mostly due to time trouble. In early October, I will be competing in a pan-American qualifier at my university, which will be sending a team of six players to the pan-Am open tournament in the US. I have a shot. Therefore, in the next month I will apply a strict chess regimen in preparation.

    But going back to the idea of chess culture, I am curious what your thoughts on it are. You can talk about coffeehouse chess, street chess, tournament chess, club chess, and so forth.

  2. #2
    Priestess Of Syrinx Katsuni's Avatar
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    I enjoy chess, but I'm only just now beginning to work into my life and mindset the concept of the xanatos gambit strategy, moreso I'm just generally far better at xanatos speed chess. As such, I figure this would in fact increase the level I play chess at substantially, but I doubt I'm any kind of master yet due to the fact that I haven't really perfected this form of reasoning yet.

    There's more to chess than JUST seeing patterns early, however, a large part of it is being able to make USE of those patterns as well. Yeu may be capable of seeing moves several turns in advance, but if yeu don't know how to set up that move to make better use of it, or making a better one, then it doesn't have nearly as much value either.

    Some people get rated much higher because they can make use of whot they do see with ruthless effeciency. Others get rated higher because, although they can't really put the information they have to quite as strong use, they have more information to work with due to seeing more moves in advance.

    Rare are those that can make use of both equally.

    The same goes for life though... some people can plan things out intricately in detail many moves ahead of the rest of the world... but if something unexpected occurs, they can't grasp the opportunity to make any use of it. Others don't do long term planning well at all, but can always hit the ground running regardless of how bizzare a situation they're dropped into suddenly. Both skills are highly important to master, though it's a very very very small minority that can achieve both to any extent. Probably because the mindsets to do both are practically mutually exclusive.

  3. #3
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    I miss the days of getting mentally psyched to go to a chess tournament, then returning home to seeing entire midgames flashing through my mind when I closed my eyes. There's a certain kind of mental vigor that you can only experience in the tournament setting.
    Ti = 19 [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Te = 16[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Ne = 16[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Fi = 15 [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Si = 12 [][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Ni = 12 [][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Se = 11[][][][][][][][][][][]
    Fe = 0

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  4. #4
    you are right mippus's Avatar
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    I share your opinion on the role of intuition in chess. It is as if it is the solid base from where calculations start (you have read Nimzowitch's "My System"?), and thinking of computerchess, it probably remains the most human element of the game.

    As to cultures. One part seems to be based on skill, but once this no longer plays, culture may be defined by how people define chess: as an art, science or war. And that may be linked to various settings/cultures indeed. I can imagine street chess being about winning, correspondance chess about truth and compositions about beauty...
    Vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas

  5. #5
    No Cigar Litvyak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Provoker View Post
    Picture a big room with a high ceiling and oak walls--something not unlike an old English club minus the cigar smoke, but very aristocratic looking--and in there some people playing blitz chess, others kibitzing, others discussing the Critique of Pure Reason, and others analyzing chess positions.


    (Yes, I know I'm being irritatingly constructive)

  6. #6
    Senior Member ed111's Avatar
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    I used to play a lot of chess, although if I'm honest I was never very good. I was a member of a couple of clubs. The one I originally attended at the age of 14 contained some very diverse characters, which I loved! There was a blind chess player, an alibino, a guy who'd murdered his wife, a couple of IMs and the non-playing captain of the England chess team. There was also the usual collection of school teachers, retired gents and a couple of hippy types.

    I used to love the league matches. I'd get collected by the captain then we'd travel to some obscure pub that would have a chess club upstairs, play some chess, sup some ale and smoke a few cigarettes. Happy days!

  7. #7

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    I've always thought of chess tournaments as full of a bunch of INTXs and really no other types.

    It would be interesting to analyze certain players' personalities and styles of playing to see if there's any correlation between the two.

  8. #8
    Priestess Of Syrinx Katsuni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theplacesyoullgo View Post
    I've always thought of chess tournaments as full of a bunch of INTXs and really no other types.
    Yeu know, that does make sense though. The INT would be almost required to play very high level due to the style of thought process it entails.

    E's would have a seriously hard time since they'd have to externalize themselves to understand things; I know personally when I was playing, my most potent stuff was externalized psychological misleadings, like setting an obvious trap but going 'oops' in such a way that they went looknig to see whot I'd done wrong, and walk right into it by being blinded by it.

    The concept was ruthlessly effecient with near 100% success rate, but then again, most people I played against sucked bad. There was one person I just couldn't beat though, because they would set up traps all over the place and I just couldn't think through it internally, I'd have to think out loud and discuss the concept with him, doing it that way I was able to see things far more clearly, but gave away my position and it was obvious which things I didn't see. I don't think I could ever be a true chess master due to this form of thought process, so I highly doubt there's hardly ANY E's that do insanely well in chess at the top end. I can see them being aggressively good in the middle ranks, but top end I'd assume virtually all are I's.

  9. #9
    you are right mippus's Avatar
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    I have the idea that you have little experience with "serious" chess. There may well be more I's than in general society, but it is not all I. I also doubt wether E's play chess differently.

    Quote Originally Posted by Katsuni View Post
    Yeu know, that does make sense though. The INT would be almost required to play very high level due to the style of thought process it entails.

    E's would have a seriously hard time since they'd have to externalize themselves to understand things; I know personally when I was playing, my most potent stuff was externalized psychological misleadings, like setting an obvious trap but going 'oops' in such a way that they went looknig to see whot I'd done wrong, and walk right into it by being blinded by it.

    The concept was ruthlessly effecient with near 100% success rate, but then again, most people I played against sucked bad. There was one person I just couldn't beat though, because they would set up traps all over the place and I just couldn't think through it internally, I'd have to think out loud and discuss the concept with him, doing it that way I was able to see things far more clearly, but gave away my position and it was obvious which things I didn't see. I don't think I could ever be a true chess master due to this form of thought process, so I highly doubt there's hardly ANY E's that do insanely well in chess at the top end. I can see them being aggressively good in the middle ranks, but top end I'd assume virtually all are I's.
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  10. #10
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    I used to play chess all the time in Jr. High and High School. However, after all the clubs and tournaments, countless hours of play, I realized the very essense of chess was far too formulaic for me. Lesser games are defined by the mistakes that plague them, allowing one player to emerge victorious. Games played by more experienced players could very well be played by two computers. Whether or not perfect play would result in white winning, black winning, or stalemate I do not know. It's all too black and white for me.
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