I love playing chess, but I find that it is difficult to find people who are willing to commit time to play games with me. I'm not a great player (I've never memorized moves or openings) but I have played enough to know my way around. I invite people over to my apartment every week or so, and I provide drinks and snacks, but it seems that there are some common reasons people don't want to play:
- They aren't good at chess, or think it's too complicated to learn.
Sometimes, this answer is just a defensive comment so that when they do play they don't feel humiliated. But sometimes it is just an excuse not to play, and it doesn't matter how good I or any other opponents are. How can I convince people that they don't need to be "good" to enjoy playing a game?
- "It's too big of a time commitment."
This is sort of the same reason that nobody will play Risk or Settlers of Catan with me. Especially since we've all heard of games that last whole weekends--and in chess games can last years! But the reality is that they aren't willing to dedicate just an hour or two to the game, while they are willing to sit in front of a TV for that same time period and don't see it as a problem. How can I convince people that it's worth their time?
- "I'm a girl."
I think women tend to think a group of people playing chess will be a bunch of nerdy guys talking about and doing stuff they're uninterested in. How can this perception be changed?
- "Chess is boring."
I get this, because it looks kind of boring when you're watching, but once you get into it and you have a basic grasp of tactics and strategy, it's not boring at all. How can I help people see how fun chess really can be?
- Other reasons?
What are some other reasons people avoid playing chess? What are some strategies to help get people in the door for the first time, and what are some strategies to help people have a fun time on their first visit so that they'll want to come back again?