Saturday, July 28, 2012

Magnus Carlsen is the best in the world. Well then, why is it that no one knows who he is? Since my very good friend calls me a goof or a dork all the time , I guess it is only fitting that on the first day of the Summer Olympics where fabulous looking famous athletes are being featured that I choose to expose a chess player. Yes, Magnus Carlsen is an 21 year old Norwegian who is the best in a sport played by 500 Million people. It is Chess. Nobody thinks it is a sport because nobody moves anywhere.
This sport to a dork like me is unbelievable because the goal is to not only win but to demolish the opponent. Now why couldn’t the idiot that just killed 12 people in a movie theater just play a game of chess if he wanted to demolish something and let those people live in peace? Half the problem is that advertisers don’t care about chess. Not that much big money going into this sport. There isn’t even a uniform for Chess players!
He is the youngest number one player ever. He is a genius. He can compete with 10 players simultaneously , not look at the boards and memorize each position on each board. That is keeping track of the positions of 320 pieces blind. I can’t even keep track of where I put my car keys last! He can think of the infinite number of moves too and win. He simply says that you just have to think of each chess board.
Now he shows up everywhere at Chess competitions like the London Chess Classic with his constant companion, his Father. There he will play against 8 other top ranking players but he is already being introduced as the number one player to beat in the world. He played against America’s number one ranking player Hikaru Nakamura and watched his eyes close from despair from his loss to this kid. Their match lasted 4 hours with no breaks.
Chess players are very serious and can have poker faces but when Magnus knows that he has got you, a big smile will ensue and you are done. Yes, the highlight of this sport is that sinister smile after hours of concentration. Nothing dramatic like what happened at a midnight show of the Batman movie where 58 people were injured and also 12  innocent dead bodies were before you; the scene in now real life that you would have only seen before in a dark and sinister movie.
Watching Chess is like watching paint dry. Ok, who does that? Well, sometimes I will check to see if it is dry yet. I am not alone. Worldwide there are 100,000 people watching on their computers these world wide championship matches. There, all can see the body language of victory and of defeat. It is war and revenge and the drive to crush a person mentally. For 50 years Chess was war, a game dominated by the Russians until the American Bobby Fisher came along and in 1972 he took on the Russian champion and won.
Now there are chess clubs at every school and in every library where kids and adults can just play or can compete. Schools like it because it is the cheapest to sponsor and can be competitively exciting not to mention extremely brain stimulating. No expensive football uniforms needed here. And no concussions to worry about. Chess can also be used as therapy because it involves decision making. Yes, goofy Chess players are trained to be leaders. The problem is in getting these stimulated minds out of the chair and out into the battlefields of life.
Chess can be taught but not genius. Genius is when you are 5 years old like Magnus was and he could name almost all the countries of the world and their capitols and their populations. Ok, this type of information doesn’t just pop into a genius’s mind. It is fostered by your parents. Let’s see, you can park your kids in front of violent nonsense like those Batman movies till they think they could be another violent character in the show or you can park your kid in front of a video about countries of the world. Wait and see what happens. Or the Dad that went running with his now Olympic hopeful daughter.
The fact remains that we are all competitive, we are all able to lash out, we all can be nerds or violent crazy criminals. What defines us as a person is the influences we have in our lives. So, look at what you choose to surround you with. Does it make you a better person or something else?

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