What’s So Cool About Chess?
Chess is perhaps the most widely recognized and played game in the world. What accounts for its popularity? Does it really make people smart? Why don’t more women play? Does the advent of super-powerful chess-playing computer programs spell doom for the game? This class will explore these and other questions, for which the answers often seem paradoxical.
Along the way we will look at the history of chess (Who really invented chess? How did its evolution reflect changes in world politics and society?), its role in history (How did chess influence the discovery of the New World? How did it almost prevent the American Revolution? Learn about some of Chess’ more interesting players. How was Chess a proxy for the Cold War?), and its status today in the world and the US. This class is for players and non-players and we are sure you will find this interesting.
Alan Hodge holds two BA degrees from Indiana University (History ’73, Classical Studies ’74) and a Master of Liberal Art from Johns Hopkins University (’92). Although he played chess sporadically in his childhood, it wasn’t until 1994 that he began competing in tournaments, where he met with limited success as a player.
Since 1998 he has focused primarily on organizing and directing chess tournaments and is currently certified as an Associate National Tournament Director and as a National Arbiter for the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (International Chess Federation). Along with his colleague, Dr. Keith Brackenridge, he runs the local organization Cincinnati Scholastic Chess (www.chesscincinnati.com). He spent his last several years in the corporate world looking forward to retirement, when he could spend all his time doing chess. Now retired, he spends all his time doing chess — and doesn’t feel retired.