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He hated games they made the world look too simple. Chess, in particular, had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the king lounged about doing nothing. If only the pawns would've united... the whole board could've been a republic in about a dozen moves.
We assert that it is possible to describe analytically any human function which can be reasonably defined in objective terms and we specifically include in such functions "thinking" insofar as that term is definable. If by "thinking" one means being able to do arithmetic, or play a good game of chess, or learn from experience, or make optimal decisions in exceedingly complex situations, then we assert that thinking can be described analytically. And there are two important corollaries: if It can be described analytically, it can be simulated; and if it can be simulated, it can be performed mechanically.
Universality is the distinguishing mark of genius. There is no such thing as a special genius, a genius for mathematics, or for music, or even for chess, but only a universal genius. … The theory of special genius, according to which for instance, it is supposed that a musical genius should be a fool at other subjects, confuses genius with talent. … There are many kinds of talent, but only one kind of genius, and that is able to choose any kind of talent and master it.
The majority of people imagine a chess master as being a townsman who passes his life in an atmosphere of smoke and play in cafes and clubs: a neurasthenic individual, whose nerves and brains are continually working at tension: a one-sided person who has given up his whole soul to chess.
Chess is a form of intellectual productiveness, therein lies, its peculiar charm. Intellectual productiveness is one of the greatest joys -if not the greatest one- of human existence. It is not everyone who can write a play, or build a bridge, or even make a good joke. But in chess everyone can, everyone must, be intellectually productive and so can share in this select delight. I have always a slight feeling of pity for the man who has no knowledge of chess, just as I would pity for the man who has no knowledge of love. Chess, like love, like music, has the power to make men happy.