My Bitter Sweet Addiction with Chess: What I learnt in the end finally?

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So, I guess if you are reading this I think you have been addicted to chess. Well, I was too in a way and I finally decided to leave it. I will be talking about what I learnt from this phase of my life.

I started playing chess when I was pretty young. I would say I was around 7-8 years old when I first started it. At that time, I was not addicted to it obviously. I would play it occasionally and I think I have spent several years not playing chess at all. But, somehow I always thought of myself as a good chess player. I was 10 years old when I won against a person who was about in in his twenties.

About 8 years later, when I joined college, I played against several friends and I won against all of them except for 2 people. One was a guy and the other was a girl. Now, the guy and I were pretty much on the same level in terms of chess. I was about to win against him being up 2 pieces(knight and a bishop) but I ended up loosing due to stupid mistakes. So, the loss to him didn’t really shake me up because I think I knew I would be able to beat him some time or the other. There was this girl I played chess with and I ended up loosing to her 3 times in a row. I was totally outclassed by her in those games. I remember at that time I felt that I might never be able to reach her level ever.

I had left chess after that, but it found its way into my life again. Somewhere, those losses meant a lot to me because I would be thinking about them pretty often. Once I just downloaded a chess game app on my phone, I started playing on it. I think I used to spend hours on it without realizing.

Maybe had I spent that time on some other things I might have enjoyed myself more but anyway it happened(no point crying over spilt milk). My game definitely improved a lot. When I entered MBA I was selected in the chess team and I was the only one in my batch to be selected.

Soon being a great chess player became a part of my identity. Like a lot of people have the perception of chess players being intelligent, it would give me an ego boost thinking of myself like that. But, the thing is somewhere it was actually a bad thing. My ego had attached the notion of being a great chess player with itself and that is where chess became addictive. Being intelligent was always considered to be something I associated myself with. That is the reason why I would always study aptitude more than other subjects. I would think of aptitude as a measure for IQ. The other subjects well are only a matter of rote learning. That is what I thought. Loosing in chess would cause me to feel devastated because my ego couldn’t think of someone else being better at me at something that meant a lot to me.

I did enjoy chess to be honest. It became an addiction and I would play chess at times when I never wanted to. When I took it up online, I would eagerly wait for my rating to increase. This caused the addiction to increase more and more. The mind is always focused on what it can attain more. Something might seem as desirable as long as the person doesn’t have it. But when you have it, the mind is always going to jump on to acquiring a better thing. I think that is just the paradox of life. I started off with an 800 rating. I moved up to 1000. Then, my rating increased to 1200 and so on till 1400. That was where I stopped, the 1400 mark. Now, I realized a few things. Lets say, when I was at 800, I wished to move on to the 900 mark. I was like if I reach that mark, I will be happy. When I would reach 900 mark, I would yearn for a 1000 rating. When I would reach the 1000 mark, I would think to myself that if I reached 1100, I would be satisfied. This went on.

So, there was something really important that I realized at the end of it all. It made me understand a lot about ego and the identity. You see when you attach labels to yourself you want to protect them. Lets just say that you are attached to the label of being a good footballer. Now, if you feel a sense of esteem only if because of a particular label or accomplishment, then you are in a way limiting yourself. For example, if you feel a sense of self worth for the fact of being a good fighter then you are going to get crushed emotionally when another guy comes and beats you up. And there is no dearth of good fighters on the planet. So, the important thing is don’t get attached to labels. Don’t measure yourself with how good you are at a particular thing because you are then limiting yourself. My label of being a good chess player caused me to waste time that I feel I could’ve used for something else more enjoyable.

Have a good day. Thank you PIRO4D. for the display picture.

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