Greengard's ChessNinja.com

It's a Chess Match

| Permalink | 9 comments

Watch out or you'll be crushed by all the clanking chess metaphors around this year's Super Bowl. American football is indeed a very cerebral game, if not for most of the players, many of whom can read. All media blah-blah about the strategic preparation by the coaches of the Patriots and the Eagles has made my normal news trawls for chess difficult.


Yeah Pats!

Man, it makes me so angry to see Chessbase post an article calling the Krush-Chen match a 'world championship'. Don't they realize they are contributing to the cheapening of chess? Come on, this is a rapid two-game match. World Chapionship of Killing Chess is what I call it. It is a great idea to have such matches, but don't call it a world championship!

I dont see the great idea, a rapid match between a 2466 IM and a 2494 GM?
Oh, I forgot, they are females!

This reminds me of an old mystery I've always wanted to solve. Why on earth is that game called "American football"? The "American" part is quite clear and needs no clarification, but the problem occurs when one tries to logically explain the other word: why "foot" when they barely ever touch that thing with their foots? But also why "ball" considering the shape of that piece of laether they're killing themself over? The English dictionary offers several definitions of the word ball, the closest of which says: "An object with a spherical shape". I mean, spherical! There's another definition, though, that a vivid imagination might bring into a distant correlation with the subject: "One of the two male reproductive glands that produce spermatozoa and secrete androgens", but one is reluctant to accept the idea of those people fighting so hard to win and keep in their possession an object with such a description in mind.

It's "football" because it's derived from Rugby football. The shape of the ball is also roughly the same as the shape of the Rugby ball. (They're prolate spheroids; "Rugby players have flattened balls" as a t-shirt I once saw said.)

-ed g.

Chess metaphors are ubiquitous in the news media and I cringe at almost each instance of the use of chess terms by people who obviously have little experience in the game. Most popular are invocations of 'approaching endgame' followed closely by Mig's example, some reference to 'a chess game' indicating either strategic thinking, or more commonly, any kind of thinking. Given how much more important tactical considerations are in most chess games, associating chess exclusively with strategy doesn't really reflect the pragmatics of the game.

I find it surprising how quick the media (and people in general) are to use chess metaphors while giving it little or no intelligent coverage. By the looks of chess-invoking headlines, you'd think it was the most popular activity among athletes, politicians, artists and the military.

Anyone else have any metaphors they find especially annoying? Thanks Mig for the opportunity to rant about this.

"the best defence is offence" is a classic one, although I personally dare not be in the room when Kramnik overhears someone say this.

I actually once read a reasonable chess-to-sports metaphor.

Keith Hernandez, in _Pure Baseball_, remarked that the opposing managers, when plotting their strategies during a game, are working only with information available to both teams. No secret data. "Chess, not poker," he says. He does not go on to push the analogy to any ridiculous extremes.

That's the only chess metaphor I've read in sports that didn't seem, to me, overly contrived.

"I find it surprising how quick the media (and people in general) are to use chess metaphors while giving it little or no intelligent coverage."

You could substitute "rocket science" for chess and have your general answer. Chess is all about braininess, and their complete lack of understanding of chess does, in a perverse way, heighten their appreciation for it.

I was told once that the game is called Football because the ball used is 1 foot long. Or a foot long ball. foot ball for short

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 6, 2005 4:52 PM.

    Friday Cat Blogging was the previous entry in this blog.

    Youth Is Served is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.