The Lie was Better

Everybody remembers their first chess book.

It was “Beginning Chess” by Bruce Pandolfini. In it, he had “12 Principles of Chess“. The first principle is:

Every move should have more than one purpose.

Except… it isn’t.

The first principle is actually:

Move with purpose.

Only in the past 3 months did I correct this memory of 3 decades.

When I’d wax tales of yore, and about the lessons I learned when playing chess, the first one I’d expound upon is how chess taught me efficiency: when you hold that pawn that’s in front of the king at the very beginning of the game, and move it forward two squares, you do a few things:

  • occupy the center, giving yourself more space
  • occupy the center, taking space away from your opponent
  • attack the center, cramping your opponent’s style
  • open up a line of attack for your king’s bishop, giving you options
  • open up a line of attack for your queen, giving you options

All that with one move. Such power. Such elegance. I seriously credited this principle of efficiency as a major influence on me becoming an engineer.

Except… it was all based on a lie.

This is something I’m still unpacking. I’m sure the embodying of the upversioned principle made me a better chess player (8-time consecutive intra-mural chess champion for my age range) (7-time consecutive intra-city chess champion for my age range) (I got trophies for playing chess) (I was that kid), but how did that tweak occur?

Oh, I don’t have an answer, or any analysis.

It’s just that when a formative principle is discovered to be so incorrectly sourced, I can’t help but share.

Investigating further… I don’t think that was my first chess book… maybe it was “ABC’s of Chess” by the same guy. Actually… I don’t think it was either of these…

I guess not everybody remembers their first chess book.