Avoiding Checkmate

Using a favorite quotation from an essay or book you have read in the last three years as a starting point, tell us about an event or experience that helped you define one of your values or changed how you approach the world. Please write the quotation, title and author at the beginning of your essay.


“There is no point in arguing if you are not susceptible to reason. Embrace your cynicism. Hug it.”
- Christopher Buckley, The Relic Master

I have never played a game of chess in which I anticipate every move my opponents make. Typically when I forget to expect the unexpected, the eyebrow-furrowing move before my eyes boils down to one of two themes: Plan B against John-Gabriel is better than Plan A appears, or my lion’s roar of a move is actually a meow on the other side of the board. Did I overlook a check when calculating a sequence? Do they want me to go for that fork? Dear Lord, help me see that secret fifteen-move sequence of 64-square annihilation that composes the epitaph on my notation paper!!

Understandably, chess makes me squint my eyes at choices on and off the board. So many times I ponder the opposite of positive cynicism - whether ignorance really is bliss - and then I laugh at the irony of my dissecting the argument of a philosophy I’ll never observe. My experiences in competing alongside the chess team have governed much of how I formulate the best way of thinking.

Of course after investing 5+ hours per week at practice, countless Sundays at an off-school chess club, Thanksgiving weekend, the weekend before...

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