This post is a culmination of The Fountainhead, an odd move in chess, and the realization of myself. The Fountainhead is a book by Ayn Rand which praises Howard Roark for his dedication to individualism. It’s really an eye opener the way Rand displays the admiration (and disgust) of other characters in this book towards Roark. It’s impossible to read the Fountainhead and not have some self evaluation.
I have been playing chess as a hobby for the past month or so. I’ve been studying the game and trying to improve as it’s a very thinking game. My ranking right now just surpassed a 1,000 (which I’m quite proud of). Grandmasters are 2000+ to give you an example of where I stand. Here is what happened that prompted this post and how this ties in with the previous paragraph. It was the end 3rd game I was playing in a best of 3 with an evenly matched opponent. With both of us having 2 rooks and a queen (I was one pawn ahead) he made a mistake and moved his queen into my queens path to capture with no recapture. I had just played with him for 2 games and knew he didn’t mean to make this move. I offered a draw. I’ve played over 200 games on this site and not one other person has ever offered me a draw for making a bad move. It isn’t what people do. You play to win, not reward people for making mistakes. I felt good about it.
This is one simple chess game in the grand scheme of things that means nothing to anyone in the world yet I’m writing an entire post about it. I didn’t offer a draw so I could write a post about it. I did it because I knew the guy didn’t mean to do it and I don’t want to win that way. If I made him make the mistake, that’s different, but he just didn’t see it. This is gamesmanship. I have it. Most people have never heard of it. This translates to everything I do whether people think so or not. I pride myself on being a fair human being and my honesty because that’s what I can control. I care about other people as well. I can’t adopt the attitude of Howard Roark and live life without the acute awareness of who else shares this planet with me.
Everyone is given a certain skill set to embark with through life. There is a key aspect to being successful in things you do. That answer is hard work. I play chess because I like it, but I study it because I want to get better. I always want to get better at things I do. I try to take advantage of my skill sets by understanding this answer noted above. I have been given tremendous opportunity in this life and it would be my biggest crime as an individual to not take advantage of it. This why I study chess, go to the driving range, or run 10 miles. I think it’s why I maintain a blog. I won’t waste what has been given to me. Even if you think this blog sucks and I’m an arrogant a-hole, know that I’ve given my time, my most valuable asset, to share with you how I view this life. So I don’t care if you don’t like my style, but if one person reads this and says, “yeah, that makes sense,” and does something to improve his life, then I’m fine with it.