"Truth, beauty and annihilation: my quest for chess mastery"

9/19/2016 – Stephen Moss is a successful English journalist, and he is a passionate chessplayer. On 22 September 2016 his book "The Rookie: An Odyssey through Chess (and Life)" will apear. Last week, in "The long read" column of the English "Guardian" Moss published a long article in which he takes his readers on to an excursion into the world of chess and talks about his chess career, the pain of defeat, and the charm and allure of the game.

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The long read

Truth, beauty and annihilation: my quest for chess mastery

When I hit a slump in middle age, I set out on a quest to see if playing better chess would make me a better person. I was unprepared for the pain of defeat

Stephen Moss (right) wants to find out good he is at chess.
In 2009 he played against Magnus Carlsen (Photo: Linda Nylind)

By Stephen Moss, Wednesday 14 September 2016

I was probably the most average chess player in the world. But there came a point where being average was no longer enough. I had become good enough to know how bad I was. I was attached to two clubs in south-west London, Surbiton and Kingston, and was mixing with players who were very good, who had international master titles, one notch below the coveted grandmaster title. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to feel at home on the 64 squares.

I was a middle-aged man who had done OK in life, but there was something missing. I hadn’t created anything substantial; hadn’t mastered a discipline. I craved substance, and saw in chess a possible way of laying down a marker. I would become an expert, demonstrate that I wasn’t just a dilettante. After a lifetime of chess mediocrity, I set out to achieve excellence, for the first time in my life to truly master a world, to become good – not just good at chess, but at living. To get really expert I would have to be focused, disciplined, ruthless even – all the things I had found it difficult to sustain in an often rackety life.

My intermittent love affair with chess began when I was 11. ...

Read full article at the Guardian...

Stephen Moss is a feature writer at the Guardian. His book The Rookie: An Odyssey through Chess (and Life) is published by Bloomsbury.


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kurumban kurumban 9/23/2016 05:11
Great article. I fully empathise with the author's feelings about the game!
neilparker62 neilparker62 9/23/2016 02:18
I enjoyed reading your article and found many parallels in my own chess 'career'. I've decided the 'creativity thing' is the way to go and hence play millions of 10 minute blitz games on chess.com experimenting with various gambits notably the King'g Gambit and Morra Gambit (with white) and Englund and Elephant (with black). Coffee House type chess abounds in these encounters!

https://www.chess.com/blog/neilparker62

Julian Martinez Julian Martinez 9/21/2016 11:25
Just like me... I felt and thought just like that when I started chess four years ago... The big difference I started from zero... and I'm still at 1200...

I think I'll read the book. Sounds very interesting for me, in fact I was planning to write something like it! ;-)
timothyha timothyha 9/20/2016 01:50
Great article and a coming book, too! Now I'll have another chess book to add to Donner's "The King".
Thanks.
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