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    Posted on Jul 2, 2013

    What It's Like To Go Through A Chess Phase

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

    by , ,

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

    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.

    Lisa Morrison / AP


    Now you're hooked.

    Jesse Mendoza / AP

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

    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.

    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."

    You play some actual chess players and get completely destroyed.

    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.

    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.

    SERGEI REMEZOV / Reuters