Truth is Beauty

When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,–that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
– John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn”

The Colorado Open was played this past weekend. I did poorly, winning three Blacks and losing two Whites. I’ve been rehashing my White openings, which led to several learning experiences about how we make chess decisions.

An inexplicable (at the time) and losing mistake from a dominant position yielded the ephiphany that we don’t really calculate, not as a computer does, except in the simplest forcing sequences. It’s aesthetics, not calculation: various components of our chess psyche vote on our next move.

The game provided this week exhibits the most clarity I mustered in the Colorado Open. Its moves possess the beauty of truth. The coherent Black position threatens to keep an extra pawn where every trade leads towards one or another won ending. White thrashes in the net and loses the midgame instead.

Jacques Delaguerre