I’m a chess player. Not especially good on the national or even provincial stage, but I can hold my own at a rating around 1900-2200. But mostly I just love to play it. Even more than poker, dominoes, or euchre. I’ve beaten computer Fritz, the Hart House champ (U of T), and the Northwestern Ontario champ, in my days over 40 years. Of course I’ve lost badly also on many occasions as well.

But I just enjoy the peace and quiet of the game, the intense moments, and the overall friendship it engenders. The ambience contributes as well, be it in a pub/bar, kitchen table, backyard patio or cottage deck. Being oiled a little with wine, beer or coffee, just adds to the mood of relaxation and being lost in the moment.

You can’t play chess and win if you’re depressed, or really worried about your job, your kids, your finances or your health. But you can play it for fun if you suffer from  all or any of these issues and don’t concern yourself with winning. Then winning is a plus, which however briefly, takes your troubles to distant places. Other games can do this too, but chess has such a remarkable history that you become almost ‘proud’ to play it. The pieces are characters that have their own stories and identities.

So if you haven’t taken up chess, try it, even if you are a Type A. Guaranteed to make you feel better and change your life. For me anyway.