Chess, strategy, and deliberating

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…..later in the evening…
Thanksgiving 2002, the evening I learned how to play chess, from my eight-year-old cousin, Jay. Somehow, I’d never learned to play. Simple rules, really, and so much strategy. I found myself thinking, “Gosh, this is like…a chess game, duh.” The pivotal move was my bishop taking his queen; he swooped in from the other side of the board. Quite dramatic. Still, it took a while to chase down his king, and I could not help but discuss with him the strategies in my mind. He even pointed out that I could trade in my pawn for a rook, and that was checkmate. I guess he was bored after my long deliberations before making moves. OK, I know he was bored, as he kept saying so.

Someday, in chess, or otherwise, it might pay off not to discuss strategies I’m considering, but it’s hard to resist. Sure, in chess, it’s a game, and acting strategically, that is, trying to make othersdo I want them to do without telling them, is part of the game. But in life, I just don’t feel authentic. As usual, Jonathan Richman puts it nicely in his song, To Hide a Little Thought.


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