Chess is Afghanistan

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I am again deployed to Afghanistan.  The hours are long, and there are no days off. An average work day is about 13 hours, but this doesn’t mean we work like we’re in a sweat shop.

There is a chess board in my office, and there is almost always a game at hand. One person makes a move, 30 minutes later, his opponent strolls by the board, ponders, pushes a piece, and goes on with his work. So far I have 12 wins, 2 losses and 2 draws.

The power of chess to enliven me is amazing. Nothing makes my brain work more efficiently, nothing sharpens my senses more. I could play all day, every day. If I have a chess set, I need never be bored.

It’s easy to see why the Soviets dominated chess for so long: In Communist Russia, intellectual achievement were held in high regard, and there were few distractions to individuals who wished to improve their game. State funding for promising players didn’t hurt, either.

When I was younger, and playing sports of all kinds, I worried about old age, that it would deprive me of something that brought me so much joy. I don’t worry about that anymore.


3 thoughts on “Chess is Afghanistan

    Medic77 said:
    February 7, 2013 at 5:22 am

    Be safe!

    Lou said:
    February 7, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Wow, I didn’t realize you were back in the sandbox. Do take care and let us know if you need anything.

    I have not played chess in years. It was one of those games that my brother took very seriously – demanding that I be serious when I played him – stressful. But I do play
    Words with Friends (Scrabble) and I am seriously hooked. I love competition. It is probably why I love sports, but hate working out.

    Mike said:
    June 21, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    I’m not sure if you’re near a large city, but I have a few questions for you. I also love to play chess and wonder if there are any active chess clubs in the country – I’m sure Kabul has at least one. They have a few masters in the country that play in tournaments from time to time, and one of the ex prime ministers is a FIDE master. Have you played with the Afghans or any Russians yet? Most Russian players will be 10 times stronger than most US players – it was taught in school!

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