Avoiding Checkmate | Princeton University Undergraduate Application Essay

“There is no point in arguing if you are not susceptible to reason. Embrace your cynicism. Hug it.”
Christopher Buckley, The Relic Master

I have never played a game of chess in which I anticipate every move my opponents make. Typically when I forget to expect the unexpected, the eyebrow-furrowing move before my eyes boils down to one of two themes: Plan B against John-Gabriel is better than Plan A appears, or my lion’s roar of a move is actually a meow on the other side of the board. Did I overlook a check when calculating a sequence? Do they want me to go for that fork? Dear Lord, help me see that secret fifteen-move sequence of 64-square annihilation that composes the epitaph on my notation paper!!

Understandably, chess makes me squint my eyes at choices on and off the board. So many times I ponder the opposite of positive cynicism – whether ignorance really is bliss – and then I laugh at the irony of my dissecting the argument of a philosophy I’ll never observe. My experiences in competing alongside the chess team have governed much of how I formulate the best way of thinking.

Of course after investing 5+ hours per week at practice, countless Sundays at an off-school chess club, Thanksgiving weekend, the weekend before…

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