Monday, April 9, 2018


the Knight plays chess with Death in The Seventh Seal (1957)
Bridge and chess derive their complexity from the almost infinite permutations and strategies that are available to opponents. They also derive their allure from the fact that they're both metaphors and manuals for human existence and survival. Ultimately they’re a form of life in and of itself and some people spend a good part of their lives devoting themselves to unearthing the mysteries of these pastimes. Hangman, tic tac toe and war are, on the other hand, another kettle of fish. In a game of war you simply slam a card down on the table and if you produce a higher number or level of royalty, you win the duel. There may be an art to war, but there's no art to the card game named after it. In the case of the other two timing is everything, with the advantage going to the person who's able to make the first move. You have grandmasters in chess who earn their stripes by moving up the ranks in tournaments, but games of thoughtlessness like hangman don’t produce legends like Kasparov and Bobby Fischer. However, more primitive board and card games satisfy another urge--the expression of unmitigated aggression. In the Middle Ages, jousting probably satisfied this function. Today two boxers meeting in the ring with the winner achieving a KO is similar, though both of these sports require a kind of training that’s not necessary for a person who’s playing tic tac toe. Very competitive people often don’t like games since they’re also bad losers and the notion that they might have to walk away from even a game of hangman with their tail between their legs is a stigma they find hard to bear.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.