Chess and Go — Robin Wils's website

Last modified: Sat, Mar 26, 2022

Table of Contents

Why chess didn’t interest me in school

Chess looked “elitist” in my opinion. People try to act like they are genius, and brag about it. Chess is often compared with how intelligent someone is.

Chess players can be intelligent, but it depends on the area. Someone can be great at chess, but bad at solving other problems. Don’t be ridiculous. Being bad at chess only means that you are worse at chess than people who are good at chess.

Chess is an interesting game, and can be fun. I just don’t like how it is portrayed. Chess is not a tool to prove that you are intelligent. In general, bragging that you are smarter than someone else often makes you look dumb.

Keep it fun

I do not fully agree with Fischer, but he makes excellent points. I don’t think any board game can be fully fair, while at the same time not being about memorizing stuff. It is either one or the other. A game which relies on a lot of luck tends to be less fair, and less about skill. Adding random elements can make things interesting, but that is often less fair.

People who are great at competitive games usually spend a long time of their lives on it. Only a minority of those people end up making a career out of it. I do not think that chess will help most people further in life. I do see it as a better investment of your time than trying to be good at esports, since the rules do not constantly change.

Computers can ruin the fun

A game becomes less interesting when a computer can beat any human, and can analyze all the moves. The interesting part of the game is then solved, and it can become pure memorizing. The best game moves are known at that point. This is already the case with chess. It has lost a lot of creativity.

Is “Go” still interesting?

Go is still interesting, since the computers can’t fully explain their own moves yet. Go has many more possible moves compared to chess. It is possible that not all tactics are known yet. Go players often act on feeling and experience. AlphaZero, an AI which beats all Go players, uses a neural network. That means that the AI can’t give you much insight.

Conclusion

Competitive board games like “Go” or “Chess” tend to be well-respected. Do not expect to become as good as the professionals though, unless you invest lots of time into it. Most people won’t become pros. It is likely that you won’t get that much value out of knowing how to play those games. Investing your time into it can be worth it, but there are other skills you could learn instead as well.

Learn chess

The basics

People might think they know all the basic moves once they start with chess, but there are some special rules. Make sure to learn about “Castling” and “En Passant”. The learning videos on chess.com are a good way to learn the basics. It is a good site to practice on in general.

Learn to protect your pieces. It means that you are able to take a piece back once they attack another piece. It is a tactic you should keep in mind. To get better at chess, you want to know how to checkmate the king. Try to learn how to checkmate the king with different pieces. The video above describes some ways, but there are more ways to do it.

After learning these basics, you should play some games. Analyze your games, but do not trust analyzers completely. It can be good to sacrifice a piece sometimes, which not all engines will recognize. Try to castle in a game, and try to apply other tactics like the “Ladder Checkmate”.

Openings

It is good to expand your knowledge of different openings. Try to learn and apply new ones. You could just play for fun, but learning more about chess is important if you want to improve. I mean, getting better at a game is fun, right? I think it is good to learn them one by one, so that you don’t get overwhelmed. Here are two possible openings to start with.

Why those two openings? Those two were used in a video in which someone trains for becoming a grandmaster in thirty days. They are recommended for beginners. Although she obviously learned more than just that.

Learn Go

First of all. I still suck at go. I can have a hard time beating a beginner bot on a big board. The following YouTube channel has a lot of good beginner videos. It is fascinating though, how a game with very simple rules is so hard to master.