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Hello fellow GK'ers. As a long time, Paying & Free, GKMember I have a personal question for you the GK community & international chess community as well.
I have a theory I suppose that the "Romantic style" play of chess leads to violence in society, mentality wise (even though it is just a "game".) And that by gorifing only the "victor" in tournments, one is simulteanously glorifing that as an acceptable way of life. What I propose is a well scripted letter of discontent to the FIDE inorder to change the "official" rules of chess to awarding a prize only to those who can force a Draw (within whatever given pre-specifications.) Much in the spirt of Tigran Petrosian defensive-style chess. A mutual Draw would obviously no longer be allowed to prevent thrown games. I am aware that this is a radical change and no one said it would be easy, but niether is world peace. If "Chess" can only mean Violent "War" then I can not say that with a clear conscience that this game is "morally reputable."
How would this change to the historical rules of the game affect you?
I ask for any feedback from anyone with kind and respectful wisedom/opinions to share on the matters. I apologize that this is only in English, anyone is welcome to translate. Thank you for your time.
-Punkkus, Chess Enthusiast & World-Peace Seeker.
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Actually, there is a long history of sporting competitions of various sorts being seen as a route toward peace, rather than away from it. The idea being that aggression and competition are both part of the human character, but sports allow the dissipation of aggressive tendencies in a way that doesn't actually kill people. That was the original idea behind the Olympic movement, for instance.
I would also observe that the long hours of study needed to achieve good results at the international level reduce the opportunities for violent behavior substantially: if you are poring over a chessboard, you probably aren't getting into street fights, nor are you developing the physical characteristics needed to succeed in street fights. If everyone on the planet spent six hours a day studying chess, there's a good chance the world would be a less violent place.
Finally, I would point out that chessplayers are a tiny fraction of the world population, and that chess is very low on the list of popular sporting events. Thus, the impact of chess on society at large, whether positive or negative, is likely to be infinitesimally small.
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And one more thing. It seems to me that your rule against agreed draws is contrary to the spirit of your proposal. Why would you want to force opponents who are determined to make Peace onto a Warlike footing?
As I think about it, declaring that a Draw is the desired result actually undermines the very idea of competition. There are many well known opening lines that lead to forced draws.
Interesting thought experiment, though.
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Choose your metaphor
Chess has a military history, though this is hardly necessary to playing the game. Perhaps you only need to modify the metaphor to overcome your moral objections. Consider:
DIALECTICS, the game.
Object: Use your resources and marshal your arguments, and your ideas can prevail!
Rules: The standard rules of chess apply, with the following modifications
Pawns = "Researchers" Use these to lay the groundwork for your intellectual approach. The move slowly, researching the terrain of ideas and frequently coming into contact with those of your worthy opponent.
Knights = "Rhetoric" These pieces represent the skills needed to navigate the intricacies of civilized argument. They can jump in and out of the train of discourse, but only in concrete ways.
Bishops = "Insights" Use these to penetrate deeply into the opponent's arguments, often turning his dialectical weaknesses to your advantage.
Rooks = "Common Sense" Always the most powerful of appeals, the commonsense approach may lack the grace of the Insight, but is often more compelling.
Queen = "Conviction" Your most powerful ally in any debate.
King = "Debater" You move slowly and deliberately so as not to fall afoul of your opponent's rhetorical snares, but this also represents the careful, calculated approach of your own intellect.
The capture of a piece represents the triumph of an argument. Rhetoric can mess up your position in all sorts of confusing ways, but certainly may be overcome by an appeal to Common Sense, or even undermined by basic Research. Captured pieces are considered to retire to an "audience," where they may enjoy and appreciate the intellectual spectacle.
Draws are common, because we can often not muster the dialectical weight to convince our opposition. A checkmate, or "QED," represents a win--not only for the checkmating party, but for Knowledge in general.
And in this tongue-in-cheek way, I think I have refuted your statement that 'If "Chess" can only mean Violent "War" then I can not say that with a clear conscience that this game is "morally reputable.'
Chess need not mean violent war. Therefore it may be morally reputable.
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What a fascinating notion!
I particularly liked bucklehead his response that shows that although conflict is endemic to the human condition, it need not lead to violence, nor is violence necessary - or even desirable - in order to resolve conflict. By conflict here, I mean any situation in which competing interests collide, where there is contention, or even merely differences of opinion. Conflict, so-called, may involve the individual trying to survive, or even trying to resolve some internal dilemma.
There are just two ways conflicts can be resolved: one side wins, or a compromise is reached. Now, is the draw a compromise, or a failure to reach a resolution? It may depend on the draw.
A stalemate is obviously a failure to resolve. How often do you read of industrial or other dispute, or of a war being described as reaching a "stalemate" owing to just this failure? Nuff said. So is a game reached with insufficient material for either side to force a decision: obviously an instance in which both sides have impoverished themselves in fruitless attempts to resolve the conflict in their own favour. The 50-move rule is clearly indicated when the combatants are too bloody-minded to reach any kind of agreement before mutual exhaustion sets in. Finally the three-fold repetition kicks in once the disputants find themselves going over the same old ground time and time again.
So, what about the agreed draw? Surely this is a compromise. The combatants/disputants/adversaries resolve the conflict amicably and in all sweetness and light agree to split the point. Nothing is lost thereby: neither side is worse off than they were before the game began. Both sides have gained a little: under the present scheme, a half-point more than they had before.
Now, in practice, draws may be agreed:
- at the end of a long struggle when both sides decide that although there technically remains some play in the position a "decisive" result is unlikely;
- or at the end of fewer moves in which both sides accept that the position has reached a dynamic or static balance that is likely to prove disadvantageous to whoever tries to force the issue (this is often referred to by the cognoscenti as "the short draw");
- or finally, draws may be agreed at the beginning of the game, possibly before a move is played, or even the day before the round.
Two individuals so humanitarian and enlightened that they reach a compromise agreement to their mutual advantage even before conflict begins ought to receive just recognition and reward. I reckon 2 points for each game so resolved is not too much to award.
So, maybe we could propose the following scoring system in tournaments:
1. Draws agreed before the game, or after one or two ply (for instances in which opponents had no opportunity to make contact before the game) - 2 points.
2. Other agreed draws - 1 point. Well done for resolving the conflict betimes.
3. Losing the game - half point. That you were prepared to concede the palm to your opponent bespeaks a laudable humility, but it did come at some personal expense.
4. Winning the game - 0 points. What do you want: a chocolate fish?
5. Draws by Stalemate, Insufficient material, the 50-move rule, or 3-fold repetition - 0 points. Serves you right for being so obdurate, stubborn, pig-headed and obstructive.
It won't be long before we see players consistently achieving top results, with everyone taking a share of the prizemoney. Talk about win-wi... what am I saying?
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I see where ionadowman's going with peaceful ways, and to some extent, I agree with him. But my opinion is that why award maximum points to draws accepted before the game? Yes, all in the name of peacefulness, but isn't the point of chess to challenge yourself and improve? How can you improve if you don't actually play?
It seems to me that yes, accepting a draw by your opponent rather than making 25 moves to reach the same result is a better outcome, but I would rather at least play a match to challenge myself and possibly forego two points, just to see my level or learn from others and my mistakes.
On a side note, there is the obvious "bloodless" mate (Fools Mate), but the chances of that happening are quite rare, even for a beginner (sorry to anyone who has fallen victim to it, I got Scholar's Mated in one of my games here).
All in all, my opinion is that you should at least play the game rather than accepting a draw before the beginning and (for me anyway), being in doubt about the result.
P.S I know the outcome isn't all that really matters, but in case you misinterpreted the final paragraph, I meant more about participation in games than winning in them.
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Define peace, in peaceful way if possible
In this age of global conflict, peace is a thrown glove for a fight.
Define peace in your way, and fight against who denies your definition. Look around, and you find that I'm not joking.
Middle east shows it in its extreme form. Still many people are under dictators, who torture and kill people who, by their definition, disturb the peace of society. Go back in history. Without civil war, African slaves in America and their owners might still be enjoying the peaceful farm lives in Southern Union.
Gandhi was a peaceful man, and I admire him as a real saint, as he could easily organize an army of suicide bombers, but he just kept peace from all his struggle against the English 'peace-keepers'. I don't think Gandhi played chess.
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This is interesting, but there are a number of problems. Like others have said, without success being rewarded properly, there is no drive to improve.
Of course, if everyone was trying to draw then chess ends. People would play openings that lead to draws and every game would turn into a draw. Chess players would turn into dumb people simply playing lines known to draw. It is not plausible to make the point in chess to draw. Perhaps a draw could be awarded more points than it is, but a win should still be optimal.
Another thing that ionadownman referred to. Is a draw in chess really similar to peace in war? Look at Korea. This is a stalemate. When neither side has succeeded in gaining a winning advantage, there is no peace. Instead, there is a stand-off. No peace is gained and tension is built up.
I think bucklehead made a good point. I was kind of critical of his explanation at first, but now that I think about it, chess really does seem to be much more related to an argument than war (or at least war as we know it today). Chess of course has origins in war, but it definitely relates more to debate. There are more parallels in debate than in war. There are actually many things in war that have no relation to chess whatsoever. War is about intelligence, morale, and technological development (including the science of fighting). Many battles are won (even in the ancient world) because either a side knew what the other side was doing, because the troops had better morale, or because they had better weapons or better skills.
Also that rubbish about spending time to get better at fighting has a problem. I can personally testify that the better I get at fighting the less I want to fight people. If people properly prepare for conflict, the less conflict there will be. Yes if someone tries to tackle me on the street I will choke him out, or if someone starts swinging at me, I will take him down and choke him out or break something. The problem there is not that I know how to fight and am ready to fight, it is that there is some other person who has a problem. And what if there happens to be a stalemate? Either a random person will get lucky and beat me, I will win, or if they are also knowledgeable fighters, one of us will win or we will draw by reaching a point where we can't penetrate the others' defense and have both grown tired and will have a mutual respect for each other. Often though, street-fights are fought by those who have had no proper training and don't know what's going on in the fight so when the fight ends, more tension is built up because "someone cheated" or "fought like a girl" (which is simply an excuse for not being prepared to fight). Learning how to fight will facilitate less voilence.
As long as people are selfish and live to please themselves, there will be problems.
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all so much for your input, you've given me much to think about. I do not have time to address everyone today, but I have read each reply briefly.
kewms, to be consistent I believe that your train of thought is correct, but I did not want to be absolute about it because the choice to not play already exists. Atleast in the parts of the world that I have heard of. I wanted to leave in the notion of force to still teach others in the world the ways of self-defense, but also in doing so I believe I am perpetuating the knowledge & need for the attacking style I so wish to apperently discourage.
Perhaps, "Peace-Treaty" Chess is inaccurate if I was to remove the compromise element. I only did so because I thought it would make the game less interesting, which of coarse as a chess enthusiast is not my goal. To be consistent, I do believe I want "Stalemate" Chess, but without the negative connotation.
I guess my original notion was that, unless the FIDE "officially" recognizes the rules of the game of chess as being perpetuative of warlike tendencies, then there will be little hope of ever establishing a world of "absolute" peace for all.
I know not all wish for absolute peace and that is why I am still debating with others such as yourself to try to find some Iron-clad resolution if there is one to be found.
Thank you all again,
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Now, here was I, thinking you were being satirical. Methought to enter into the spirit of the thing with my proposal. Sorry about that...
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what is chessboxing then and how does that effect punky's comment "If "Chess" can only mean Violent "War" then I can not say that with a clear conscience that this game is "morally reputable." ?
seriously though, I thought chess was intended as a peaceful war simulation. is it now to be mentioned in the same breath as violent/aggressive computer/tv games ie the things that really do cause violence? (tongue planted firmly in cheek)
naturally I expect someone to mention battlechess at this point..
in order to counteract the negatives of 'normal' chess, I propose a few variations to the normal chess which most of us practice:
nude chess (played with a member of the opposite/same sex depending on your preference)
strip chess (as above)
mandrax or valium or xanax chess (so as to take away any urge for anything remotely violent or aggressive)
telekinetic chess (where you are only allowed to move the pieces with your mind)
buenosnochess (a little pun on a Spanish influenced game where you play in your sleep)
I'm sure there are others, feel free to add to the list
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The moral aspect...
Bucklehead, as kwems mistook, my goal is not to undermine competition as a whole, but rather undermine the specific area(s) that promote violent/disagreeable outcomes. I fear my terminology is currently too vague to capture precisely what I am aimming to articulate, but that is secondary at this point for me. I believe I'm working from a Social Constructionist's stand/viewpoint so I think any criticism that's designed with that in mind will be the most potent. When it comes to the rigors of debate I feel that I need strong enemies to become strong myself.
Morally, I'm a constant struggle between "Idealistic in theory, Realistic in practice" and so I'm arguing for subtle changes, which is why my focus is on "a child's plaything" (a.k.a. the professional Chess we all know & love), rather than attempting full-scale political Reform. Morality is a most difficult subject for me personally to approach and I apologize for any quasi-misleadment.
To systematically rename or drastically alter the original parameters of the game are against my intentions as I do not want to ruin the integrity of this historically significant game. However, I don't want this game to go unnoticed or not pass extreme scrutiny. It's been 500 years since the last rule change, I'm just hoping that the next rule change is more influential in facilitating peace in any part of the world or universe. I enjoy chess for the game that it is and am simply not content with "Stalemate' chess" existing as an unrealized variant. If I failed to address anything adequately, please don't hesitate to question.
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Deeeeeeep thinking brother. Kudos. I may just steal that one and write it on the stall in the men's room at my next tournament when I go in to adjust the frequency on my earpiece:)