In the past few weeks I’ve taken up chess again, and I’ve been playing a lot of games very badly.
The last time I did that was as I tried to get over a death of someone very close to me when I lived in Australia.
I think that playing chess is something to do with inhabiting an environment of death and loss, of losing control but then trying to create beautiful structures and plans to regain life and hope.
Somehow chess illustrates how to “win” or, early in grieving, at least to get a draw from a losing state; to see some potential for life and hope again.
Chess can mean reading, learning, watching YouTube videos, gaining wonderful knowledge – lifting myself out of the world for a while.
Winning, losing, drawing in games of chess can bring more knowledge, of self and of other people. It connects you with other times in history and other countries in today’s world.
In recent days, chess has also connected me with Gary Kasparov via Twitter. The former world chess champion has quite a few interesting things to say about the current Russian atrocities in the Ukraine, and on Putin himself.