Day 1 – Let Our 2020 12 Days of Christmas Posts Begin!
Today we kick off our annual series looking back at 2020. The global pandemic, no surprise, dominates our series this year, though not entirely. And as we publish each day, we’ll highlight New Year predictions, take a walk down memory lane with some of our favorite HealthcareNOW Radio episodes of the year, and shine a light on industry leaders and heroes.
For Day 1 in the series, I pondered for some time on how to kick us off and what I would focus on. Number 1 topic impacting providers and organizations this year? COVID. Number 1 health care issue impacting patients? COVID. Number 1 health care story of the year, decade and perhaps century? COVID, COVID, COVID. So I’m not writing about COVID-19 on Day 1. I’m writing about chess.
Fans of the Netflix series, The Queen’s Gambit, are now silently cheering me on here. The show, which debuted in late October and quickly became the Number 1 scripted series on Netflix, has gained critical acclaim, kudos from the chess community, and is credited with the resurgence of interest in the game.
If you subscribe to Netflix and haven’t checked the show out, then let me provide a brief overview that will give nothing away.
The story follows orphaned at age nine Beth Harmon, an emotionally scarred chess prodigy, on her quest to become the Number 1 player in the world. The series is set against the backdrop of the Cold War in the ’60s when competitive chess was dominated by men and, on the international stage, by the Russians, and follows her progression as she moves up the ranks, along with her dependency on drugs and alcohol .
It’s a fascinating look at both the era, addiction, and the game itself.
My husband and I quickly became fans and before we knew it, had purchased a chess board and began to learn the game. or re-learn I should say as we both played a little as kids. Now each night after dinner, we play a best 2-out-of-3 game match.
When we first started playing I more often then not would win. I’m an aggressive card player, thanks to my online bridge playing, and this naturally influences my play. My husband, however, is better at seeing further ahead and is more patient. We’ve been learning together, learning from each other, and sharing chess strategies we read about to improve us both. As a result, he’s become more emboldened in his play and I’ve improved in seeing more than just a couple steps ahead.
New terminology has entered our lexicon as we strategize through our play; terms like “castling” and “pinning” and “key square” and many others. We also read up on opening moves. The Queen’s Gambit itself is one of the oldest known opening chess moves, and a potentially risky one at that, as it involves white sacrificing its queen-side pawn to gain control of the center of the board. And gaining control of the center of the chessboard is a critical part of the game.
Our nightly chess match has been a welcome distraction from the news and life right now amid a continually surging pandemic.
Here are some resource to check out:
- If you’re getting started or want to play online: Chess.com
- Documentary: Bobby Fischer Against the World
- For Kids: Chesskid.com
- Great Read: The Kings of New York
- Your in good company: Famous People Who Have or Had Played Chess
And so my Number 1 advice for you all as we head into 2021 is twofold: Watch The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix and go get yourself a chess set and start playing the game.
May you all have a very, very safe and happy holiday season.