At Play: A Personal Odyssey in Chess - by TJ Williams


A charming reflection of an evolving family-mind entangled in the evolving field of a popular board game. A sweet story, a pleasure to read. I don’t play chess but after reading this I wish that I did.


This one hit me hard. I also learned from and used lose in chess with my dad. Sadly, we didn’t continue with the tradition once the digital world took over.

Great writing on this one, and I also appreciate the ideas and philosophy behind the article. A+.


Thank you both for such kind commentary. I’m glad you liked the piece.

It’s never too late! :grinning:

The effect of the digital world on socialization in general seems interestingly ambivalent. In our case, we could and maybe even should take advantage of virtual play, but of course half the fun is the old dynamics.


Twitter giveth:

###Chess: The Great War Between Light and Darkness – by Manley P. Hall


Thank you for this. I am now interested in the history of chess. For instance, something as simple as the term “chess”? What is the origin of the word and its meaning?
And from their what was the first chess board and what stirred man to create such a game? Where was it predominantly played? These are all questions I would like answered. More importantly, the deeper symbolism…“strategy across the board and the two.” Strategy is decision making and will, and the two a relationship of opponents who achieve an ultimate synthesis. Even if one person “loses” they learn where their decision and will is better directed. And this game probably carries over into one’s real life…in the more important decisions of living. The universe and chess and on this board: Physics in action.


Great observations and deep questions indeed.

Former player and author Raymond Keene wrote an illustrated history that I have lying around here somewhere…
Found almost everywhere, board games are likely as old as the first villages. Chess itself seems to have bubbled up from the cross-cultural stew that was the ‘ancient’ world between the Aegean and the Ganges. According to Keene, if I remember correctly, some time in the wake of Alexander the Great Indian pieces and a Greek version of something like ‘othello’ got together. The rules of the game evolved over centuries to their present form as it spread through Eurasia but, perhaps fittingly, originated in lands where epic (Mahabharata, Iliad) ruled the mythic imagination.

One plausibility anyway…


I was recently reading about Sumeria and discovered the “Game of Ur.” You may enjoy this article:


Wow, that was a great read also, Manly P. Hall never disappoints.

“East Indian princes were wont to sit on the balconies of their palaces and play chess with living men standing upon a checkerboard pavement of black and white marble in the courtyard below.”

This reminds me of a scene in “The Prisioner”, I don’t really remember what happens, just that Patrick McGoohan is hilarious in it.

Anyway, I have to read that “Secret Teachings of all Ages” book.


I realize it’s been a while on this thread, but I read this today, and while it ties into a number of other themes that are being worked in other threads, I found it most appropriate to post it here:

It is now evident, for example, that chess-playing computer programs represent progress toward real intelligence in roughly the same sense that climbing a tree represents progress toward the moon.

(Edward F. Kelley (2007) “Introduction”, in E.F. Kelley, et al. (eds.), Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Plymouth, pp. xxiv-xxv)


In this case, my “like” really is akin to:



A few tangential comments about this discussion. Although I don’t play chess (although I know how to, I’m just not very good at it), my brother, Rod Edwards, does so and developed a historical rating system for comparing chess players across time. Rod is a mathematics professor at the University of Victoria, B.C., Canada. Here is a review of his work along with an interesting video that presents results of his rating system :

Historical Chess Ratings – dynamically presented | ChessBase

Also, you mention the game of Ur. My brother found evidence of an interesting Viking game related peripherally to chess. My other brother, Cliff Edwards, who is a professional programmer and electronic engineer, and Rod, developed a computer version of the game. It still works and is available online here :


Sooo … weirdness runs in the family, eh? Très bon. :+1:


This was a captivating read, your writing is excellent. I learned chess from my grandfather, but I never managed to beat him. Thank you for sharing this story.