I listened to two Lex Fridman Podcasts with Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura, two chess grandmasters. These are 2 humans who are the elite of their game and you’d think there’d be some sort of secret sauce to why they are so good, but there wasn’t. Magnus made mentions that people expect him to be this robot chess player and it surprises them that he likes sports and exercises. Hikaru took tennis lessons for 8 years and likes the stock market. These brainiacs were just like you and me. Hearing why they were better than the competition was sort of just “I am”. If I was being interviewed about my chess, it’d go like this.
Interviewer: What happened in that game against TheQueefsGambit?
TC: Things went south on move 8 when I blundered my knight to his queen with no material in return. Not sure why my brain didn’t see that one coming.
I: Do any games stand out in your career?
TC: The game against CaroKhanstippated was unusual. He could tell I was playing a Kings Indian and boned me on move 2 by playing bishop to H7 and I was too stupid to take before I brought my bishop out. I resigned before move 3.
Where’s the Money?
Hikaru mentioned that maybe 20 grandmasters make a living from chess. It has to be a bit depressing knowing that making a few hundred K can out earn the smartest chess players in the world. Without understanding chess, know that these guys are super human to average chess players. To say it’s David vs Goliath if I played a grandmaster is an insult to David. There is a 0% chance I’d win.
Chess is surging in popularity, but it’s not much different than a video game that’s more of a time waster than a skill. You can get better at the game, but there is no light at the end of the tunnel other than self satisfaction, which is not easy to achieve unless you started playing when you were 4 or you have Asperger’s. I’ve concluded that I don’t have what it takes to be exceptional at this game. My life has become selling tools and I guess I’ll have to continue playing with the likes of 2Queens1Cup and SmackMyBishop.