Saturday, May 20, 2006

All of my marbles


My father taught me how to play Chinese Checkers. He was good in that way in that he would spend time playing board and card games with me. Early on, he would let me win. As I picked up the nuances of the games, I would sometimes let him win.

Chinese Checkers is a mind game. It seems very simple, but it requires that you analyze the board and plan complex moves in advance that can change at the drop of a marble if your opponent moves the wrong marble. Unlike western chess, it is not hierarchial. All of the marbles looke the same. And there are no preprescribed moves that limit what each marble can do.

Maybe that is why I am better at Chinese Checkers than chess. Chinese Checkers also moves quicker. I don't really have the patience for chess.

A Chinese Checkers' board reminds me of a brain. The pattern of the marbles moving reminds me of synapses firing. A truly great move on a Chinese Checkers' board ripples along like a nerve ending being engaged. And sometimes, like a real brain, the synapses misfire and a play goes nowhere.

I don't think linear thinkers do well at Chinese Checkers because nothing moves in a straight line. I feel sorry for linear thinkers. They never seem to know what to do when they encounter an obstacle directly in front of them because it never occurs to them to move backwards or diagonally.

So Chinese Checkers to me is like life. But you really need all of your marbles to play it.
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