A new series on Netflix has ignited the world to be attracted to the ‘Game of kings’ that seems
to lose its power every year when network games come out like ticks in a teenager’s acne,
grabbing attention after a new and refreshing character in the world like the current world
champion – Magnus Carlson. From consciousness – to the next pleasure.
But first of all let’s start with the part that everyone loves – spoilers…
He died In the end!
Now that we’ve taken care of it, welcome – Alex but the majority call me Milman – depends on
the nature of the acquaintances.
I have been playing chess since a young age. The discovery that I understood how the tools
moved began at age 4 when my brother did not want to continue playing with my father when
they played and got up from it. I asked my father to continue the game and he laughed. Then I
took a logical step on the board and he took a step back, after I took another logical step they
enrolled me in the class.
After about a year I participated in a big championship and took first place – it was the Israeli
championship until age 6 or something like that and it was my highest achievement in chess…
There was also a sixth grade team achievement when we took second place in the country for
schools and I was the captain. I remember the trophy victory round they did for us in
elementary school with a special ceremony- at the time it was equivalent to the Tiktok stars (still
handing out autographs to fans).
When I moved to Ashdod at the age of 6, I was enrolled in a class that took place in the 2nd
district with a life teacher named Michael Arshansky.
I will put the chess aside for a moment and say with confidence that this coach, this
amazing person and Sensei for many years, has managed to be one of the most influental
people in shaping my personality, my thought paterns and also choosing my professional path
afterwards as an educator (for the record I hate this definition almost as much as I hate when
people say ‘You’re Amazing’).
A few years ago I organized a competition in his honor – Michael was the judge and all the
members who studied with him in the class who were available came to pay their respects to
this great man. Today he is 80+ years old. He stopped coaching a few years ago and in the last
Israeli Seniors Championship he took first place with 8.5 points out of 9, which means – he did
not lose a single game !!!
I was not ‘Big in Torah’ when I played and there were much stronger players with more
impressive achievements than me, but even today, 16 years after I officially left the competitions
and the class, many friends from the class and I are in close contact as long as I play in white (or
‘Queen’s Gambit’ is one of the most popular openings (the first steps to start the game) among
world chess players – my personal morning begins with entering an online chess game site and at
least one flash (3 minutes each) game where when I am in white I make the first step from the
opening – soldier to square D4.
The new series on Netflix is one of the better series I’ve seen around since ‘The Peaky Blinders’ and is based on a 1983 fiction book by Walter Twice.
The series tells the story of Beth Harmon – a girl who was orphaned and sent to an orphanage
boarding school, where over time she is exposed to the game of chess and discovers natural
talent and extraordinary control of the game of kings. The series consists of 7 episodes, each
lasting an hour, and fascinates you to the screen from the first moment.
During the series, Beth’s personal way and chess achievements on her way to the championships
and the highest ranks in chess are presented – her intuitive ability, seeing the board and the
pieces in her head is shown (characteristic of many high level chess players who can play an
entire game without moving the tools), and the character and line of thought that develops in
her over the years.
“Every genius has a madness”
For years I did not liked when I was called a ‘Genius’ – along with this coveted title comes a
certain strangeness, one way or another, and it took me a while to finally accept the judgment
on myself and also come to terms with the psychic part of me.
As a child, when Michael used to tell us in class about world champions from the past, their
abilities, his personal acquaintance with one of them (Michael Tal), we listened and were drawn
to stories, admired them, and became interested in the new generation of champions.
I remember our interest in Kasparov when he played against the computer and the amazing
spark of his student – Magnus Carlsen known as the ‘Mozart of Chess’ – underwear model (real),
a grand master and world champion since 2013. After being interviewed as a teenager and he
said “I enjoy when I see my opponent really suffer when he knows I have surpassed him”, “If I
lose in one game, then usually – you know, I really want to get revenge” – I did not have another
option but to put it in the same line of my personal musical idol- the slim shady Eminem.
A few years ago when Boris Gelfand- an Israeli grand master, arrived miraculously to compete for
the world championship for first place (amazing is his age where most chess players are already
in a straight down line while the younger generation takes the reins, and he was in a constant rise
curve that made many people marvel), I remember that instead of being in lectures at the
university I went down to the cafeteria and saw the game online – these were a little over 3
hours and much more interesting!
This is probably a very small taste about how the thought or vision of a lot of chess players works
but let’s dive a little deeper:
Forward counting, constant criticism of the current situation, desire to improve attitudes and
striving for victory are the fuel of chess players.
The spark that exists as long as you are part of the ‘catch everyone here’ loop in a chess
Master-Pokemon style, is mainly the same striving, the same unceasing desire to win, the
excitement of the games and the spacial element that combines the outside world – the clock!
The clock on the side of the board, with which you start playing when you get to the
competitions and the weekly league, gives a look at the reality outside the game board –
‘someday it will all end, either you lose time or you lose position; Or you make the right moves,
think ahead and know how to appreciate the clock ticking – and that’s how you win.
This vision is like a square board with 64 squares where there are countless possibilities, so is
life, and many times there are only 2 colors that show the absolute result – black and white!
The other colors of the rainbow exist as well, but they are a scale in between, not always a
single solution for focused vision.
Want to win? Practice your intuitive thought – your natural senses are the ones that led you this
far and if you can sharpen them you will be able to move forward with an accurate intuition
Of course each of us, the players and chess players, see the world in different and varied ways,
but the similarities I mentioned are in many of my friends who shared a game or two with me.
In ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ there is an eternal question that the actress asks one of her opponents –
“And what then?”
She asks this after one young opponent tells her that he plans to become world champion in a
This is a very common thought – “And what then”.
In hindsight I can say that this is one of my engines in life – finding the answer to this question
over and over again, and until I know the answer to the current ‘what’s now’ – watch the series, I
do not think you will regret it.