My Chess Challenge

For my first 2 or 3 years in graduate school, I played a LOT of chess. When I wasn’t studying math, I grabbed one of my fellow grad students and would play or watch a game. It was very addicting.

Then, I pretty much stopped playing.

My wife and I watched the Netflix show “The Queen’s Gambit”, which has brought the game of chess back on my mind. It was on my mind when I started jiu jitsu at the beginning of 2018, as the mental aspects and the fine tuning of jiu jitsu skill are often compared with chess.

Although I could roll any day with upper belts and get smashed, able to shake off the many submissions to which I had to tap, I find it difficult to sit down for a game of chess for some reason.

I’m not sure exactly what the resistence is. Perhaps some of you know what I’m talking about. There is a feeling of putting your intellect on the line, and of making yourself vulnerable. I get a sense of anxiousness that I never get with jiu jitsu. It is weird.

For the last few nights, I finally made myself sit down and play a quick game against a computer to break this mental roadblock. That seems to be what we have to do in these cases, is to make yourself dive right in and get a quick reminder of how pointless all that anxiety really was.

Featured photo by Jeswin Thomas on Unsplash

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