Only the fittest survive
When chessplayers meet at the board, the ego, more than anything else, is at stake. To be superior is primal. It is the instinct that drives all lifeforms on Earth.
The timid or aggressive, the humble or gargantuan, solitary or social --- all animals are genetically-encoded with the ‘will to survive‘. In more than a few simple ways, they adapt.
Their lives are a continual game of chess. Confrontation can either be a learning or a death wish. Like them, we too are everyday chessplayers. We search for ways to get the better of our opponents.
We know if our opponents are better than us. Which inevitably lead us to the ‘fight or flight’ reaction. “Do we play it cool, play dead, start an attack or defend?”.
Survival in chess, is a lot like staying alive in the wild. Only in the 64-squared chessboard, we profess mental powers more than physical prowess. Animals are born competitive, that is why we invoke fighting qualities from them, mythological or not.
The names of which are etched in the lexicon of chess. For example, the snake, lion, scorpion, hippopotamus, vulture, orangutan, the rat, hedgehog, pelikan, elephant, dragon, pterodactyl and so forth. I've played some of these systems and tried out some peculiar lines and I find it really fun and enjoyable.
I think the more unfamiliar the game is, the more there is a chance to win. For me, this is how I get a kick out of chess. You feel the beast incarnate within you. However there is a downside. Several years ago, I lost to a local hustler who was adept in the Yugoslav attack who liked to talk a lot during the game. I heard a ton of sarcasm on the subject of the Sicilian dragon during the game, this was much worse than losing the wager. Vanquished by the Dragonslayer... I know how to cope with defeat, but to put up with this?
If you're ever in the same situation the next time you go to the chess club you had better find an antidote or an improvement or face some similar form of abuse. Or alternatively you can take it in your stride and don't get too stressed.
What I enjoy the most is the searching for the discovery of and the trying out of lesser known systems far away from mainline chess theory. It’s really fun to win games using discarded, lesser known and what many consider inferior lines, then adding a touch of one's own analysis and original ideas.
Some games I have compiled thus far shouldn’t and indeed wouldn't fit into the standard Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings but they have a primal touch to them. The Sidewinder, the Leviathan and a most recent idea, the Orca. Of the three, I consider the last example the more difficult to familiarise with. This is because it is broader in scope. Each is tricky, less known, yet ferocious with ideas that give both players a chance at winning.
In the future you'll be able to read my ideas on these opening systems and many other games and thoughts by following this column as I will hopefully give you a splendid way to spend a lazy afternoon.
We should follow 2014 world chess champion GM Magnus Carlsen’s advice to everyone out there. "Have fun!"
I couldn’t agree more. What is chess without fun?
By Gefer B Imbuido.