Until fairly recently, I was teaching a youngster who plays chess for the UK junior team.
I remember an occasion when his dad came to my house to collect him. At some point, I mentioned the game of Bridge – I was suggesting that his kid should give it a go…
“Yea, but Bridge is a game of luck”, he sneered.
My reply was not particularly intelligent… I suppose I was very surprised by the reaction and had not primed myself with a suitably strong rebuff.
I was expecting something like,
“Hmm… Tell me more; sounds interesting.”
But then I often find that very intelligent or intellectual individuals needs must take the high ground by default. Out of habit they will disguise ignorance with an impatient belittling. Being offensive is rarely the intention but then, one must get irritable with others if one’s brain is like a vault of impressive information and hyper activity.
So… What do you think would be a disarming reply? What should I have said?
‘It is not a game of luck’? – This defensive reply is too weak a response. I want something stronger.
You could start by saying what Bridge has that Chess has not – For example, Bridge involves deductive communication between opponents and partner thereby creating a more dynamic and complex set of alternative tactics and strategies. But to Chess fanatics, these points can make Bridge seem the weaker game… there is less purity of thought and logic.
Is Bridge more strategic than Chess? Well that depends. I think you could argue the case for either Bridge or Chess. Of course, the truth is that Bridge simply IS more strategic, but try telling that to a Chess player.
The right response is to aggressively attack the Chess player’s achilles heel.
Being a bit small minded, I thought I should do a bit of research and find some quotes from clever people who might have a useful retort for me to commit to memory.
For example, “Chess is mental torture” was said by the grandest of masters, Garry Kasparov. There… from the horse’s mouth.
But the next quote is much better. All Bridge players should commit the following quote by George Bernard Shaw to memory:
Chess is “a foolish expedient for making idle people believe they are doing something very clever, when they are only wasting their time.”
Alternatively, one could mis-quote Benjamin Franklin:
“The Game of Chess is [not] merely an idle amusement.” I like this mis-quote, because it is so daft it is bound to irritate a Chess player into mumbling confusion.
The following is the most intellectual of quotes by Albert Einstein that the Bridge player can use as a weapon:
“Chess holds its master in its own bonds, shackling the mind and brain so that the inner freedom of the very strongest must suffer.” ‘Hmm. Take that nasty Chess player’.
H.G. Wells obviously was rubbish at chess. There are several quotes by him worth remembering:
Chess is “the least satisfying of desires. A nameless excrescence upon life.” The very idea of using the word excrescence is good enough for me to put this particular quote at the top of my rebuff list.
Perhaps H.G. Wells should have the final word:
Chess, “is a curse upon man. There is no happiness in chess.”
Of course, as always, you get the final word… Leave your best rebuff below in the comments section.