Chess has an undeniable mystique. It is often thought to be the game of games, too difficult to master - best to be admired from afar.
In fact, the rules are quite simple: it is possible to learn them in less than a half hour.
Expertise is largely a matter of familiarity and practice.
With only modest guidance, it is possible to advance significantly from the beginning stage.
Even advanced skills are not as difficult as one would think.
Emanuel Lasker, World Chess Champion (1868-1941), creative mathematician and philosopher expressed his conviction in the "Manual of Chess" that a young player "even if he possesses no talent for chess" can attain master strength with a mere 200 hours of application.
How is this possible?
Lasker offers an explanation of sorts: "I can assert with a high degree of certainty that nowadays we achieve only a fraction of what we are capable of achieving."
Lasker's optimism about learning the game is based on a profound impression that the game is deeply expressive of the human spirit.
He put it simply when he noted that humans especially like a good fight.
Few would deny that chess offers this.
Below is a win by Fabiano Caruana against Mateusz Bartel from the Dortmund international tournament in Dortmund, Germany.
Fabiano Caruana vs. Mateusz Bartel in Dortmund, Germany.