No Chess Month

How am I dealing with my addiction

For those that know me a bit, they know that I really like playing chess. I got infected by the virus at a very young age, learning to play the game from my father since I remember my self and joining local chess clubs with my brother. I never really became good at it, having won only one local tournament by the age of 18 (and this happened cause I had no other participants in my age group and competed with lower ages :P). But I always liked it and kept playing it.

After some years of occasional play, mostly online, chess became a form of keeping touch with some good friends of mine. We would arrange to meet a specific day of the month and play chess while having a skype call. However, when finding the right moment became difficult, we wanted to switch to correspondance games. And this introduced me to the world of lichess. If you are into chess, and you don’t know lichess, drop everything you’re doing now and check the application! It’s open source, free, and amazing! As they describe themselves, lichess is the best thing that happened to the game ever since the invention of the smothered mate.

And that hooked me up. Initially I was playing only correspondance games, then switched to standard live games, only to end up soon at blitz (short) games. Soon I would spend hours playing games on a spiral cycle of loosing my time. One game would bring the next and I would feel the need to play another one if I lost (cause I knew I could do better!) or if I won (since I had finally a good spirit!). All this at the cost of my productivity, my attention, and sometimes my sleep.

I tried it all: automatic logout when browsing away from lichess (so I have to re-enter my credentials every time I wanted to play), two-factor authentication (so I needed my phone as well in order to login), plugins for limiting access to a website (strongly recommend LeechBlock), blocking apps for the phone (Block App), but I would still waste more time than needed exercising my brain (too much).

Until one day, I just stopped. And today I realised that I haven’t played (or even thought of playing) for a whole month! I got finally rid of my addiction. It’s just amazing what a change does a kid bring to your life :D

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Tassos Natsakis
Lecturer on Robotics and Biomechanics

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