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Updated version 2.0 of thoughts on reducing perceived geek factor of chess

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The perception of chess as a game for geeks seems to be fairly common, which may hurt the popularity of the game, at least when played competitively. For instance, the full title of a book about a successful NYC high school chess team includes the word 'geeks':

Just after brainstorming today, two approaches to tackling the commonly perceived geek factor of chess occured to me. The first was to hope for the increased popularity of chess variants with a certain anti-geek flavour, in the hope of indirectly 'elevating' the public's image of standard chess' players, or at least possibly making standard chess rules more familar to the public. I finally rejected this approach since it would be admitting tacitly that there is little that can be done for chess in its standard form. In case anyone wishes to pursue the approach, here are certain variants (or forms of competition that include games of chess) that may hold some promise for countering the commonly perceived geek factor of chess, if they are promoted:

1. Chess boxing;
2. Competitions with multiple games, variants and/or sports of which chess is just one a participant or team plays - points for scoring a win at each particular contest are tallied up;
3. Bughouse chess (aka doubles chess);
4. Strictly for married people, playing by superb (and accessible) rules for strip chess in the home.

The second approach to possibly reducing the commonly perceived geek factor of chess that occured to me would be to encourage the participation in greater numbers of various types of players at chess competitions. In possibly increasing order of difficulty to acquire more for such, here are possible types of players that may hold promise for countering the commonly perceived geek factor of chess:

1. Female players;
2. Armed forces members (could have their own prominent chess events);
3. Diplomats or politicians (again, could have their own prominent chess events);
4. Charismatic (if not also tough, in a personal sense) top national players.

[edit: here's Google's definition of geek, for the curious:

noun unfashionable or socially inept person.
2.a carnival performer who performs wild or disgusting acts.

engage in or discuss computer-related tasks obsessively or with great attention to technical detail.]

[edit: Below is a wikipedia link discussing one (former) Canadian player who is described as charismatic.]

[first update: Here's my tongue in cheek list of do's and don'ts for chessplayers wishing to build up their charisma as players:


1. Become a strong chess player by working hard if necessary;
2. After winning a chess tournament prize, offer your story to a [community] TV station or newspaper;
3. Conduct simultaneous exhibitions as often as possible;
4. Try to look, smell and dress well;
5. Thank your opponent after each game (for bonus charisma points, offer him a beer if appropriate).


6. Argue over petty matters with an organizer or tournament director;
7. Argue a single point for multiple pages on a chess message board;
8. Slag anyone's choice of opening if at all playable (it may be dear to them);
9. Insist on crushing your opponents in every post mortem game analysis;
10. Hardly ever play competitively.]

Below is a link re: my perceived benefits & disappointments with offline chess as a master:

A link re: some ideas of mine for new Chess Federation of Canada services for its members:

Below is a link giving 12 reasons I think people may have to play chess without much taking skill level or ambition into account:

A link re: why chess is so popular among board games of skill:

Below is a link re: what I think the future of chess may be:

A link re: some modern problems for chess:

Updated 05-21-2017 at 10:32 AM by Kevin Pacey

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Chess issues