Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Dialectical Chess History

At Kino Fist, a discussion on the seduction of chess:
The history of the 20th century is the history of the strategically necessary misrepresentation of chess. The defeat of left-wing politics, of reason and seriality, and its replacement by the flows of capital and the madness of markets informs us that whichever side chess was on, the game itself has lost, and lost badly, relegated to the status of whimsical pastime for the terminally intellectually aspirational, the insane and the incarcerated. The hustlers that sit in Washington Square Park, playing for the odd five bucks against business-folk on their lunch-break are the last remnants of the chess vanguard. But how did chess get beaten so badly? One solution to this question lies in the wilful misunderstanding of chess, by both its defenders and its critics, as primarily a game of war, and not as a game of seduction. The denial of the seductive qualities of chess is by extension a refusal any longer to acknowledge or even contemplate the seductive elements of the avant-garde as a whole.

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