Monday, 29 October 2007

Does chess make you happy?

Does playing chess make you happy? Perhaps the answer might not be as obvious as it first appears. When we win, then of course we are happy; but when we lose we are quite the opposite. Chess can be bruising to the ego and for most of us there is always someone better than you who can give you a painful lesson.

So is the joy of winning greater than the pain of losing? Dan Heisman believes that the ability to tolerate losing "just right" is one of the three important attributes that it takes to become a good chessplayer. To find out the other two see the article!

Tolerating losing "just right" means not caring so little about losing that you "don’t care and keep making the same mistakes, but also not caring so much that you are paralyzed by losses. The best is in-between: the ability to keep losing while simultaneously learning how not to repeat your mistakes."

So do you think chess increases the net amount of joy in the world, or is every joyous winner balanced out by a miserable loser? Is chess a nil sum game of happiness or does just playing the game make you happy, regardless of the result?

Sunday, 14 October 2007

What sex is your brain?

Being male is supposed to be an advantage when it comes to chess. Or, more precisely, having a male brain. Male brains are, on average, better at dealing with logical and spacial problems, whilst female brains are better at verbal skills and judging emotion.

If you would like to try a series of tests to assess whether your brain is better at traditionally male or female activities, then try the fascinating link here.

Me? I did well in the angles test (19 out of 20), and the test where you have to mentally rotate a 3D shape and match it to others (11/12), which should mean that I have some of the skills needed to be a good chess player. I'll have to find another excuse for why I still suck...

Why not take the test and see how you score? You can't do worse than my 5/20 for empathy. Does that put me into sociopath category?!!