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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Understanding chess game of life!

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hello everyone,

Here is a very interesting play - all about understanding life through chess!

In Beautiful Problems, actors become chess pieces, which serves as areminder that in life, the next move is ours to make.
In 'Beautiful Problems', actors become chess pieces, which serves as a reminder that in life, the next move is ours to make.

The play 'Beautiful Problems' is by Vancouver playwright Andrew Laurenson who started to learn chess as a way to understand an increasingly complex world. He never got any good at it. But the skills he did glean helped him get a better grasp on a rapidly changing society, and now he wants to take you inside that game in a play titled 'Beautiful Problems'.

"We've actually tried to make the play not really about chess, we're trying to use it more as inspiration for competition, complexity and our relationship to technology is part of it as well. Really complexity and competition are the two main themes," says Laurenson, artistic director of Radix Theatre, which is staging the play.

'Beautiful Problem's follows one man's personal journey into learning what it means to take responsibility for his life. The story is inspired by one of the most famous chess games of all time: The 1997 Man versus Machine showdown in which Garry Kasparov, thought by many to be the best chess player in history, lost a match to Deep Blue, an IBM supercomputer. It was considered a watershed moment in technological advancement, the humiliating defeat spelling doom for mankind. But the more Laurenson thought about it, the more he realized the Kasparov match -and his own games -weren't so much a competition against machine, but a showdown against man and beyond that, himself.

"It was as if Garry was playing several other people at the same time through this program called Deep Blue so it became man vs. man. But beyond that it became man vs. himself because Garry fell into some sort of paranoid thinking, he became bitter, he also became tired and distracted. He became his own enemy in the end because he made these really basic mistakes and he was not able to play what he was capable of."

That realization was instructive to Laurenson's own personal journey and became the topic of exploration for Beautiful Problems, which is largely autobiographical.

"You can view the piece as entering into the main character, his name is Andrew, entering into his mind and all his thinking about the situation that he's in as a modern human being in a North American society. And it's his thinking brought to life and it's brought to life through different characters," explains actor Lesley Ewen, one of four main actors in the play.

In part of the play, the actors become chess pieces in Andrew's world. It's a reminder that in the game of life, even one that's increasingly dependent on technology, the next move is still ours to make.

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