Friday, August 21, 2009

Shogi

I've recently been watching a great youtube series of tutorials on how to play Japanese chess, or Shogi. The rules are similar to western-style chess, although there are some very interesting complications, such as the ability to re-use pieces that have been captured.

I've played a bit of chess from time to time, but I never really achieved more than a basic level of competency of a teenager - I typically can beat my younger sister, but usually lose to my father. I'm comfortable with the movement of the pieces, but the larger strategies are a mystery to me. This is surprising, since I think one of my strengths is my ability to synthesize information in order to find the big picture.

At any rate, the shogi tutorials are very well done, and are inspiring me to play chess again. I've been concerned lately that, thanks to a combination of my job and frequent use of the internet, my ability to concentrate is slipping. Chess is a game that forces you to focus on a single task for a while. I think it will be good therapy.

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