November 19, 2010

If chess is played by so many celebrities, why is it still considered to be a game reserved for weirdos?!

It's so interesting how the human mind we complete the puzzle even when we are missing some pieces. If something doesn't fit the picture, if we have some weird elements, we always find a good and reasonable explanation for that. Otherwise our brain will be confused and we don't like to have chaos in our heads:) A great book which reflects this concept very well is: "The Master and Margarita" by Mikhail Bulgakov. (Highly recommended!:)

How is this applying to chess?! Let's take a look at celebrities and their shared passion for our beautiful game.
Big names, from USA-based business leaders (Bill Gates), artists and musicians (Salvador Dali, Ludwig van Beethoven, Bono, Madonna), movie and TV stars (Will Smith, Julia Roberts, Al Pacino), writers (William Shakespeare, Fyodor Dostoievski) to supermodels (Carmen Kass, Heidi Klum), sport stars (Kobe Bryant-NBA, Gary Sheffield-baseball), royalty and politicians (almost all US Presidents, Jacques Chirac), just to mention a few, they all declare their fascination for chess!
Here it comes my question: As mentioned above, many celebrities enjoy and play chess. Than why chess is still considered to be a game for geeks and weirdos??! On the contrary, it should be seen as a very cool game, if all these famous people declare their passion for it!

The missing piece from our puzzle and the only explanation I found, to satisfy my brain for consistency is:
- these people are not defined by chess, they are known as: writers, business men, actors and so on. Chess becomes just a "cool" accessory, just another eccentric deviation which makes them even more interesting and more popular.
- the image of a chess player, in people's minds, remains the same: glasses, weird look and we know the rest:)

But slowly and surely, I think that this image will be changed. We can already see more and more exceptions to the rule: Carlsen's recent G-Star events and Susan Polgar's and Alexandra Kosteniuk's approach in promoting chess. Note how they all make good use of new media such as twitter and facebook.
To change the way we are seen by the people from outside the chess world will take a lot of time...hopefully chess will not be solved by then:)


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