back to top

What It's Like To Go Through A Chess Phase

Get ready to feel really, really smart...then really, really dumb.

Posted on

You discover chess. It seems awesome, but you have no idea how it works.

WTF is this wizardry how do I do the thing?
cumfacepenisqueen.tumblr.com

WTF is this wizardry how do I do the thing?

You learn the basics pretty quickly and start looking into strategies and tactics.

You realize this shit goes pretty deep.

You beat your friends at a few games. Clearly, you are the Chess Master.

Soon.
Lisa Morrison / AP

Soon.

Now you're hooked.

Jesse Mendoza / AP

You learn some gonzo moves like Fool's Mate and think you're a total badass.

felixfelicishp.tumblr.com

This is basically what the pieces do.

Until you realize it never works.

Almost impossible to actually pull off.

Still, you think you're really, really good.

Lennie Mahler / AP

Your unstudied friends don't stand a chance against you.

Laurie Skrivan / AP

Then you see what chess notation looks like.

Basically Dothraki.
chess.geniusprophecy.com

Basically Dothraki.

You realize there's a whole new level to this, and you're just scratching the surface.

"I have no idea what I'm doing."
gagbay.com

"I have no idea what I'm doing."

You play some actual chess players and get completely destroyed.

The horror. All those pawns. They were so young.
NTB SCANPIX / Reuters

The horror. All those pawns. They were so young.

So you head back down the rabbit hole, studying classic matches, getting a chess coaching app, favoriting YouTube tutorial after YouTube tutorial — anything to get back that feeling of intellectual glory.

Bobby Fischer, you make it look so easy.
biography.com

Bobby Fischer, you make it look so easy.

It helps you realize that there are a lot of people who take this WAY more seriously than you.

Adam Cairns / AP

And they always will.

LUCY NICHOLSON / Reuters

So you return to normal life as a casual chess player.

Playing on a rainy afternoon with a friend is still super fun.

MICHELE SIBILONI / Getty Images

Sure, kids like this will always be able to whoop you, but it's cool.

Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images

'Cause chess isn't just for baby geniuses, it's for everybody.

SPACE CHESS.
SERGEI REMEZOV / Reuters

SPACE CHESS.

The best things at three price points