Friday, March 6, 2009

Personal Reflection

I picked the topic of why does White move first because that has been one of the rules in chess that I never really understood. All of the pieces are the same, so why do the black pieces have to go second every time? What does it add to the game to have it this way? It makes me think of this psychologist named Dr. Franicis Cress Welsing who said that the games we play, like basketball, football, baseball, etc, are all ways that culture sends us messages about race. She's controversial, but I think there is something true about the fact that chess is all about hierarchies (It goes King, Queen, Rook, Bishop, Knight, Pawn) and that could potentially teach people to accept the idea that one person has to rule over everyone else. It's hard for me to believe that it is just a mistake that black always goes second.
I can't remember when I started playing chess, but I know my father taught me about the game a long time ago. I remember the nice wooden chess set my father used to have and the way he used to beat me all the time. My father never put it in my face, but every time we sat down at the board it was pretty much understood that he was about to give me a whupping. Being able to beat him made it really important for me to learn as much as I could about chess.

I guess it's also important to me to figure out why white goes first because I like to teach my students how to play too. I'm usually pretty honest about how I don't understand this particular rule, but I would hate to be sending my students the message that they deserve to go second--especially as brilliant as they are.


  1. Hey Abdel,

    Thanks for sharing your post. Here is my review

    1. Is the post the appropriate amount (300 words)?: Yes

    2. Rate (10 highest, 1 lowest) the clarity of the overall topic of research. 9 you rock!

    3. Rate how well the visual illustrations add to the topic of the post. 10--I like the picture of you and your dad. I guess you have always been handsome!

    4. Rate how well the post conveys what the author knows. 10--it seems like you know a lot about chess. You must be like brilliant or something.

    5. Rate how well the post conveys what the author wants to know. 7--I would have liked to learn more about what you want to know.

    6. Offer two or three written positive (specific)comments to the author.

    I never really tripped off of why White goes first, so that was interesting. I also thought the pictures did a good job of supporting the point you were making.

    7. Offer two or three written constructive criticisms or questions to the author.

    You lost me a little bit with the Dr. Welsing reference. Maybe you could explain what she means a little bit more.
    If chess was so important to your dad, what did he tell you about why white got to move first?

  2. Wow, awesome post, solid reflection. You totally rock. I have so much admiration and respect for you, and I want you to teach me how to play chess. I love seeing how excited the kids are in playing chess and in showing off their blogs (Darrius McNutt is rocking a chess blog, too!).

  3. It's really quite a stirring topic, too, thinking of the metaphor and overt messages (why in fact is it that white always gets the first move) and what it indicates about our society.