Even though, the title of this write-up might sound like telling something universal ideas, it is a highly customized account of my own life experience.
Last year just before the pandemic, there was a sports week in my college.
I didn’t take part in any of those sports competitions because I thought I wasn’t good at any of them. Thought, I would rather enjoy watching my friends play than building pressure on myself of losing and winning stuff.
I went to see my friends playing football(not American), some of them were playing badminton and some of them were playing table tennis.
By the end of the day, one of my friends told me that we should go to see the chess match happening then in one of the blocks of our campus building. As I didn’t know anything about chess I initially refused to go. Upon my friends’ continuous egging me on to go I we went. As we went there and watched people’s play, I felt like I was a young kid who knows nothing but being put in a room full of intellects.
Having this early encounter with chess what I thought about it was, ”this game seems fascinating to me, one day I would like to learn about it and know how it is played.”
Staying in that room and watching people play the intense match of chess I said to myself, “Hey Dipika, had you learned how to play chess then, you wouldn’t have to be a bystander like this now.”
With emotions full of regrets and being low-spirited, I stood there for good 20 minutes and watched others’ play. One friend of mine came to me and asked if I know how to play chess. With an embarrassing face, I said ‘No’ and there was an instant little laugh on his face, followed by the question, ”Then why are you here?”
I couldn’t say anything. I again stood there for another good 20 minutes watching people move those pieces on board. I even didn’t know what those pieces were called. I was even very confused about the direction how they were being made to move to; some straight and some diagonal. Are they moving randomly or by following any rules? I was totally out of any clues.
When the world was under pandemic and we were locked out in our house, I was quite bored of watching videos on Youtube that went on and on.
One day I came across the chess videos on Youtube. Thought maybe this is the time to learn about it. I watched a few videos and was able to understand the basic things about chess, like what those pieces are called and how are they moved. That day I solaced myself that at least now I could walk to some random people playing chess in the college and stand beside the play without pretend as if I knew how to play it.
After watching few videos and learning few things about chess, I started playing it online. The very first time I checkmated my opponent, I can’t describe how good that feeling was. But, I still don’t remember how I did it. Maybe my opponent was a beginner like me but still, I would like to believe that it was my observation and few tactics that lead to my first checkmate of chess.
After that, I started playing it frequently. It would be a very good story to write and even to read maybe to an extent if I said I was already good at chess and if I had boasted up on my high rating in chess. But I am telling a success story of progression from ground zero to a self-motivated fairly good player that I came through trying to be. How good a build-up story it would have been if I said, I went from the person knowing nothing about chess to the person who has become quite good in it. But sorry to break it to you, it’s nothing like that. Every time I lose in chess, I feel very horrible. If I lose in few matches, I wouldn’t play it for like next one or two months. Sometimes, I feel that I would have been much better in chess if I had continued playing it regardless of how I feel while losing in it.
I have played only a few other games in my life. I was never good in either of them but those losses impacted nothing on me. But the feeling of being defeated in chess-play is something which I would never be able to describe. I kept thinking what might be the reason that out of many other sports or games, losing in chess gives me the most awful feeling. Then, I realized chess is all about how smartly you can think, how smartly you can think of ten moves ahead of your opponent, how smartly you can calculate those pieces on the board and on the head accordingly you deserve to lose or win. Most of us, in our life, think that we are the smartest people. When we ourselves prove the claim wrong by performing in games like chess I guess it’s obvious that the chances you feel terrible are high.
However, I feel good that now I know the basics of chess; the names of the pieces, and how only they can move. Now when I watch some random chess matches I would know what is happening on the board. When I play it and win sometimes, I feel excited to play more further. And when I lose? You better already know what I do, don’t you?
The writer is a final year student pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in zoology from Central Campus of Technology, Nepal.