Is my attempt to make a “entertaining version of chess” for the best players in the world? Have you ever thought that the Grandmasters of chess would be interested in doing what I’m proposing? No. This is chess for the rest of us.
There are several levels of players in the world of chess. When I refer to the “Grandmasters of chess,” I’m talking about the players who actually have “titles.” If you don’t follow chess, I mean that they have earned the right to be called master in some sense… like master, national master, international master, and grand master. Those players, using “Elo rating numbers,” would be above the 2400 mark. In comparison, I’m a 1300-ish player, so those are the REALLY strong players. If you’re playing at a 2400 level, you aren’t really going to need to be doing what I’m proposing with chess… I’m talking about the players playing at or under 2000.
First, let me break down the “levels” of chess I’m talking about. At the “pawn level,” you’re playing between 0000-999 as a rating, the “knight level” is 1000-1199, the “bishop level” is 1200-1399, the “rook level” is 1400-1599, the “queen level” is 1600-1799, the “king level” is 1800-1999, and anything above 2000 is “expert level.” While it would be fantastic to have people involved at the king or expert level, I’d say that the majority of the individuals I’m going to get involved in this might be somewhere between the bishop and queen levels.
Any chess organization has a dedication to expanding the game to as many people as possible. I’d be looking to expand this to gather in as many people as I could teach the game. I’m talking about a real life “teaching chess to others” scenario that is right along side the “action on the board” style storytelling. Again, keep in mind, these are REAL GAMES being played by REAL PEOPLE who just happen to want to act like a character to make the game more interesting.
I’ve been given a lot of skepticism over this idea over the years. At each skeptical note I’ve corrected or adapted something to make that skepticism lessen and hopefully help convert the skeptic over to my line of thinking. At only 500 words per column, which is what I normally shoot for, I can’t really get into the deep territory of this that I’d like to, but I have a column about chess now that I can talk about in little 500 word chunks.
Referring back to my levels, the people at the expert and king levels would compete with each other, though I’d anticipate the “early joiners” of this club wouldn’t be as “characterized” as the rest of the roster. I see them more in the “teach you how to get better” role and allowing the focus of the action to fall on the lower levels. Ideally, I see chess being entertaining in a review type episode (on a TV scenario) between two people that are likely to make mistakes that a “street level player” would make. What’s more interesting to someone who can point and say “I can beat that guy.” Could you? Step on up to the board.
We will talk more about this idea in future columns… I’ve already gone over my 500 word mark.