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Arts & Culture

Considering Chess


One way chess is special is that everybody knows what chess is, but a far smaller segment of the population can actually play it.

Chess is a big enough deal that the Fischer - Spassky matches held the world's attention for two months in 1972. And every few years there's a pretty good chess novel. I recommend the overlooked "Queen's Gambit" by the overlooked Walter Tevis. Somebody once called it "Rocky" for smart people.

I can be riveted by any of the preceding, but I can't really play chess. I know how the pieces move, but my grasp of the game drops off sharply after that. A mildly gifted nine-year-old would beat me effortlessly. Today, we're going to probe around the edges of chess. Like a lot of things that you don't follow closely, it's mutating in ways that may surprise you. In other ways, it's essentially the game people have been playing for 525 years.

Leave your comments below, e-mail colin@wnpr.org or Tweet us @wnprcolin.

**Today's show was produced with help from Yasmin Elgoharry.**

Arts & Culture
Colin McEnroe is a radio host, newspaper columnist, magazine writer, author, playwright, lecturer, moderator, college instructor and occasional singer. Colin can be reached at colin@ctpublic.org.

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