Download PDF by Robert Desjarlais: Counterplay: An Anthropologist at the Chessboard

By Robert Desjarlais

ISBN-10: 0520272609

ISBN-13: 9780520272606

“Chess will get a carry of a few humans, like a pandemic or a drug,” writes Robert Desjarlais during this soaking up publication. Drawing on his lifelong fascination with the sport, Desjarlais courses readers into the realm of twenty-first-century chess to aid us comprehend its distinct pleasures and demanding situations, and to strengthen a brand new “anthropology of passion.” Immersing us without delay in chess’s elaborate tradition, he interweaves small dramas, heavily saw info, illuminating insights, colourful anecdotes, and unforgettable biographical sketches to clarify the sport and to bare what is going on within the minds of skilled avid gamers after they face off over the board. Counterplay deals a compelling tackle the intrigues of chess and exhibits how subject matters of play, attractiveness, pageant, habit, fanciful cognition, and intersubjective engagement form the lives of these who absorb this so much fascinating of games.


“The topic of chess boasts extra books than the other video game, yet this one is detailed, crafted for the final reader in addition to the aficionado. . . . just like the online game itself, Counterplay is an stress-free psychological exercise.”
(E. James Lieberman Foreword 2011-03-01)

“Desjarlais attracts from his backgrounds in ethnographic study and beginner event chess to nimbly discover the game’s social, philosophical, aesthetic, mental, and technological quirks.”
(Will Wlizlo Utne 2011-07-01)

“An informative and penetrating survey of the sport today.”
(Publishers Weekly 2011-01-24)

“Desjarlais brings to Counterplay a social scientist’s eye for broader topics and implications, a researcher’s exhaustive annotation, and a chess junkie’s ardour and recognize for the game.”
(Wayne Lee Santa Fe New Mexican/ Pasatiempo 2012-06-01)
From the interior Flap
"Counterplay explores the internal global of a chess participant and examines how we try to make that means from the sport and the types of existence that encompass it. Desjarlais's own account skillfully illustrates the soaking up, enthralling, and exacting characteristics of chess, whereas additionally highlighting the penury, disillusion and pettiness that regretfully permeate the game."—Jonathan Rowson, PhD, Grandmaster and British Chess Champion (2004-2006)

"This publication is replete with deeply researched and heavily saw info, small dramas, interesting insights, compelling anecdotes and potted biographies—all interwoven with nice authorial ability and intelligence. this can be a excellent creation to the 'lifeworld' of chess that offers glimpses into the psychology of gamers and touches at the social and political dimensions of aggressive chess. In each bankruptcy, Desjarlais deals desirable feedback as to what types of pride diversified humans locate in enjoying chess."—Michael D. Jackson, writer of The Palm on the finish of the brain

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Extra resources for Counterplay: An Anthropologist at the Chessboard

Sample text

You decide to play cautiously, aiming for a solid defensive setup, and decline Grechikhin’s pawn offer. You figure there’s probably not much established theory covering the positions that will result from your move, so you’re both in uncharted waters. If your game were a theatrical play, it would be an experimental off-off-Broadway production. Grechikhin makes a move. You think about how you want to parry, and make a move of your own. He does the same after a few minutes, as the two of you become embroiled in the syncopated, back-and-forth dialogue that makes up a tournament game.

Even so, mistakes happen often in blitz chess, especially in comparison to the precise artistry of grandmaster chess. Blitz’s fast pace means that one has little time to calculate systemati­ cally. The thinking is quick, abrupt, and largely intuitive because the sec­ onds are ticking. Imagine playing a game of Scrabble in which each side has five minutes for the entire contest, or consider writing a poem with a fiveminute deadline. That gives some sense of the breakneck thinking involved in blitz chess.

Chess can promote just this sort of ritualization. Often when I play an evening’s worth of games at a local club or spend a few afternoon hours analyzing positions, I find that the ritualistic process at work during those hours helps me to gain a measure of focus and composure in my life. Words I would apply to this process are containment, ordering, making things right. The game frames and sharpens my stance vis-à-vis life. At times, chess offers a domain that is trouble-free and calmer than life in general.

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Counterplay: An Anthropologist at the Chessboard by Robert Desjarlais

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