02 May 2006

Why 'Chess for All Ages'?

Everything has a name. There's no way to avoid it. Things that don't have names don't exist. People can't talk about them, point to them, complain about them, or anything else that people do about things that have names. Which is everything.

I set up this blog to enter a comment on another blog. The process of registering as a bona fide commenter (commentator?) led me through a process that required setting up a new blog whether I wanted it or not. This often happens in the computer world. You start to do one thing, which leads to another thing, which leads to another thing, and suddenly you are at interrupt level five, solving problems that have nothing to do with the original task. When you finally finish level five, you step back through the sequence of interrupts to accomplish whatever it was that started them. Which was? Name the blog.

The blog naming procedure required me to create a subdomain in the blogspot.com domain. In less technical terms, I had to replace the [something] in [something].blogspot.com with a name of my choosing. There was a nice built-in function that let me try different [something]'s until I found one that hadn't been used. All of the obvious names had been taken: chessblog, chessguy, chessmaster, chessexpert, and a dozen other chess related names that popped into mind at interrupt level four.

Then I remembered a feature that I do from time to time on About Chess. There's an index here...

Chess for all Ages

...I finished creating that index an hour ago at interrupt level six or seven to explain why I chose this blog name. I started to create it last summer to keep track of the different About.com 'Chess for all Ages' posts. I found last summer's aborted effort on my hard drive, added links for a few 'Chess for all Ages' pieces written since then, and published the whole thing as a new index. I categorized it as a ChessChrono, a name I invented at interrupt level five for another little project.

The 'Chess for all Ages' posts on About Chess are far from being the most popular articles on the site. They are buried so far down in the site statistics that I've never noticed them when browsing the stats. Their lack of popularity isn't a problem for me -- chess itself is far from the most popular topic on the planet -- but they happen to be among my personal favorites.

Everyone who is interested in chess news uses Google News with a search on chess. Along with thousands of stories that have nothing to do with chess ('the football game was a real chess match'), the Google News search uncovers all sorts of local news stories where chess plays a central role. These are stories about senior citizens who have started a chess club in the local library, or grade school teachers who have discovered that chess makes their students think and keep quiet, or high school chess teams that have just won an important team event in the state capital.

I have often been impressed by the many ways that chess affects everyday people in everyday situations. Since the Google News stories are rarely interesting enough to merit a story highlighting them individually, I often pull several of them together under the 'Chess for all Ages' header.

Chess needs its heros. It needs its skunks. It also needs all the people like you and me, neither hero nor skunk, people who will never win the national championship, the regional championship, or even the local club championship, people who just enjoy playing chess.

I never returned to the blog I wanted to comment at interrupt level zero. I was smitten by blog fever, by 'Chess for all Ages', and that's where I'll be for the near future.

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