Chess vs backgammon vs cricket.
I've come under fire in The Steamie for the most peculiar reason: my attitude to chess. David Maddox blogged earlier today about my love of other board games, including an allegation that I have a game with nuclear war as an objective. That's almost true. I've actually got two, Confrontation and War on Terror. And I'm looking for a third.
He's a backgammon player, which I regard as the finest board game ever invented, and I'm certainly looking forward to beating him, ideally for money. But I cop it over chess. He disapprovingly cites my comment that:
"Chess is a limited game which can be won simply by processing further into the future than your opponent."
I stand by this: computers now surpass humans precisely for this reason. Peter Hankins says:
".. the conquest of chess does represent a victory of sorts for mere processing power .."
The historical intertwining of chess and politics Maddox sets out is thereafter is fascinating, though, and he's right to say that strategy on the chessboard no doubt has parallels with politics.
I suspect neither backgammon nor chess is his real love, though. That has to be cricket - see how regularly he and Tom Peterkin defend the sport on the Steamie.
With that in mind I dare not step into the crease to criticise this ancient game. For instance, I would certainly be reluctant to associate myself with the comments of Gerrard Hoffnung, who once asked "what's that game, you know, the one where twenty-two men fall asleep on a lawn?"