# Checkers v. Chess, from Steve Leslie

April 29, 2009 |

Does checkers have more to offer to the speculator than chess as the chair suggested?: "moving backward and forward one square at a time is a very binary thing".

May I add that backgammon is similar to checkers in this regard. I find myself a two dimensional person. That is to say I visualize things linearly. It is very easy for me to work with numbers whereas I am challenged by construction projects as they require a three dimensional view. I recall in my past Mensa testing, I scored very highly on math, reading, average on two dimensional analysis and below average on three dimensional analysis. Checkers is very much a two dimensional game and chess is three dimensional.

Furthermore of all the pieces in checkers are effectively 2 D and chess pieces are 3 D. A knight may jump an opponent's piece and Castling is a very effective strategy to protect the King both are 3 D. In trading, we see everything on a flat screen. The numbers are representative of the collective thought at the time and once again are organized and in "code" so to speak. Charts have an x axis and a y axis and are laid out like a board.

Scattergrams are 2 D. Movements are in points once again 2D no "en passant" allowed. I offer these comments to the group in the hopes that my esteemed colleagues will expand upon this. My friend the great GM needs to interject his view with his usual remarkable insights which he has accumulated from his years of devotion to the great game of chess.

Backgammon is okay, but I never liked games of chance with dice involved as part of the game. Checkers on the surface is such a simple game to learn the rudiments as to who moves first, taking your jump, crowning a piece, etc. Chess looks so impressive to the masses as you have pieces moving in many directions. In fact, that back and forth motion takes away from Chess. In Checkers you push a piece forward and it remains there till jumped, moved forward again or becomes a King which is equal to two singles, unless brought in by your opponent for a crown then out again for a stunning 'in and outer' .

Checkers is top of the heap for depths and combinations the majority will never come to enjoy. Joe Schwartz once told a reporter in Vegas that a spectacular combination or win, etc in Checkers is like "having an orgasm of the mind"! Joe is so right.

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1. Nigel Davies on April 29, 2009 2:03 pm

Given the number of chess playing traders that have blown up of late, it could be that even tiddly winks offers a better grounding!

2. Anatoly Veltman on April 29, 2009 3:36 pm

This topic will obviously only discuss Chess vs. one particular simplest 64-square checker system. While Chess is uniform world-wide, many cultures have varied checkers rules/boards. For the past century, one system (on 100-square board) has been favored by the World Federation (FMJD) as the prime World Championships, ratings, etc. Only Soviet and Dutch champs consistently held FMJD world crown. Given board’s enormous 10×10 size and 20×20 white vs. black pieces to start, plus flying Kings - that system has been considered by pros tougher to master than chess. And Grandmaster combinations on that board multiple-orgasmic!!

3. david higgs on April 29, 2009 6:23 pm

Why is checkers like a long game of tic tac toe to me?… Is there a website where people from all over the globe can challenge
one another to a game of checkers like there are for chess?

4. Nigel Davies on April 29, 2009 10:59 pm

Some more serious comment — I think the 'main' posts on this have been way off track.

If you play a game of strategy with a lot at stake (and by this I mean in a way that losing is a serious blow, preferably to your livelihood, and not as an enthusiastic dabbler) and do it for a long time, you develop an ability to function under pressure. I don't think it matters if it's chess, checkers, poker or backgammon, but probably the game shouldn't be too simple as there's usually a lot going on with markets.

You'll get just the same training with markets themselves, though here people have a tendency to get taken out of the game whilst they're learning. They'll also start a bit late, say in their late teens or twenties. With board games you can get involved in serious competition at any age, and indeed be playing for money.

5. Luca Barillaro on April 30, 2009 5:07 am

Hi Steve, Just to remind you that checkers is a game that has been mathematically solved by computers from the beginning to the end,
while chess still is a mystery.

If you consider only endgames with no more than six pieces, in order to solve them you'll need eight DVDs. If you add just one piece more… then you could end up like St. Augustin trying to empty the sea. May I suggest the interesting read "Thought and choice in chess" By De Groot.
Being a trader and a chessmaster I found it very useful.

Best regards

Luca

6. Steve Leslie on April 30, 2009 11:19 am

Thanks Mr Barillaro. Perhaps to clarify my post a bit. I claim no expertise in checkers or chess or backgammon for that matter. I do not diminish the magnificence or complexity of the games either. My commentary was spun off from a previous discussion that the Chair presented on Chess v Checkers.

My point is that the way my mind is wired ( some would argue dysfuntionally and I might agree) I have difficulty in wrapping myself in the game of chess. The genius of it is unquestioned. I have seen savants and prodigies alike master it before they reach their teens. a mind numbing experience for sure.

I reach by suggesting that perhaps because I am a savant with numbers that this translates more easily at least for me to the trading of markets. This may be due to my skill on 2 D projects and exercises. I note I am no great trader nor have ever claimed to be. Once again I have submitted these comments before.

There are far greater minds at work here such as Messrs Milhone, GM Davies, Larry Williams, Jim Sogi and the Chair himself who sat at the feet of the great Wiswell. I leave this to them to volley with.

And I shall exit here with my fleece intact. Thank you very much!

7. Steve Leslie on May 1, 2009 11:53 am

I am curious Alan, you are an expert in the field of checkers, what type of individual if any proliferates the world of checkers. Is it structured like chess where there are grandmasters. What direct correlations do checkers offer for example with respect to strategy that translates to a speculator.

Nigel the same applies to you is there a certain correlation that you see as to who gravitates to the highest levels of chess and do they share similar characteristics and personalities. And on the other hand, do you see these characteristics as limiting when extended to speculation.

I should think other games that have value to the speculator are dominoes, scrabble, monopoly to name a few. Each require a level of game theory to be successful

For traders, of course poker, gin, bridge, many card games come to mind.

Others?

8. Lincoln Sternn on May 4, 2009 9:46 pm

I've played thousands of games of Backgammon. I suggest that the dice bring the game closer to trading than either checkers or chess.