What can chess teach us about our faith?

Our poor friend jrj1701 keeps playing e5 as his second move against the Scandinavian defense. This is considered a blunder by the majority of chess theoreticians (if not all) when playing against the Scandinavian defense as it allows black to transpose into the French defense which can really created a lot of booby traps even for a player who knows what he’s doing (like when I started with a Chigorin variant and transposed into the French defense in my game against Fr. Kimel). I have tried to teach our good friend jrj1701 how to handle this defense by showing him much post-game analysis where white has successfully played against this defense either to an act of winning or drawing the game against black (the majority of the time winning). But our poor friend jrj1701 would rather play e5 on his second move.

Our poor friend wants to play the game as opposed to going to classrooms and solving chess problems. There is a reason why we create chess problems to solve. This helps us in mid-game and endgame areas where we are uncertain as to what to do. Our critical thinking is being developed as we play chess. But our friend just wants to play the game as opposed to talking about it. However, this does not actually help him to learn how to play the game. He knows the piece movements and what-not but he doesn’t know the styles or the defenses or how to handle them nor does he want to talk about handling them which misses a huge part of what chess is all about. Chess is a strategy game which involves deep, critical thinking. Learning the piece movements is just the baby food.

In Hebrews (we have no clue who wrote that book, by the way), the author tells his audience that we should “leav[e] behind the basic teaching about Christ, and not laying again the foundation” (Heb. 6:1). According to the NAB commentary, “The six examples of basic teaching in Heb 6:1–3 are probably derived from a traditional catechetical list.” Catechumens are generally not taught a heavy load when it comes to the Christian tradition whether they be adults or children. But growing spiritually doesn’t stop after the catechization. Simple stuff about the faith is taught to catechumens–God is love, Christ is God and died for us, repentance and faith in God, instructions on baptisms (the author is not saying that what we believe about baptism is not important by any means), laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment–these are all part of classical Christian profession. It is time for us to become a true master of the faith and to develop “our game”.

For instance, we can of course continue playing chess and what-not but as long as jrj1701 doesn’t know how to play chess, he will not end up winning too many times in playing against me nor even break even against me. This can actually be problematic for jrj1701. Like with our faith, we must move on from the basics and study much more to learn and grow in it, so with chess, we must learn how to dominate that Sicilian defense, that Scandinavian defense, that Italian opening, the Queen’s gambit, etc. This involves much more talking about it then actually playing.

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About newenglandsun

A student. Male. Passionate. Easily offended. Child-like wonderer. Growing in faith, messing up daily.
This entry was posted in Bible, Chess, New Testament. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to What can chess teach us about our faith?

  1. jrj1701 says:

    I am studying, yet I had studied where some have said that denying the Scandinavian defense was o.k.

    • I would need you to show me the source that said e5?? was a good second move for white when the Scandinavian defense is played. Most chess theoreticians would advise taking the pawn and then developing your pieces like you normally would but I know of none that would say e5?? is a good second move for white when the Scandinavian defense is played.

  2. jrj1701 says:

    Well they were not not masters, they were these guys on the internet.

    • I have not been studying from masters either. I have been studying from “guys on the internet” as well. In fact, most of these guys probably have ratings in the mid one thousands at best.

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