on Football and Chess (and design)

on Football and Chess

A couple days ago I came across a great twitter comment from Geoff Manaugh of bldgblog in which he mentions “Football as a series of contradictory landscape strategies: analytic geometry. Competing ways of using a nd filling space.” I’m a fan of both North American football and soccer which I thought was apt for both sports. Then yesterday I came across another analogy, this time it was about chess and Bobby Fischer’s eulogy via Jason Kottke. Michael Paterniti wrote “This was the beauty of Bobby Fischer’s mind, even then. The boy made very clean, simple lines out of very complex problems, and when the trap was sprung, his style of chess became so transparent you could instantly recognize its brilliance: efficient, organic, wildly responsive and creative.”

I like combining stuff to see what I get, especially with quotes like above. Both of those excerpts are relatable to not only their respective sports but to the bigger picture of design from my pov. If you can follow me for a sec I’ll explain why. In Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design (Interactive Technologies) by Bill Buxton, he describes trigonometry (something that is fundamental to navigation) “more often than not they recast the problem in a different representation that simply side-steps the need for the task to be done”. In football it’s about moving ideas from point A to B by dealing with challenges, while in chess as Fischer illustrated, turning a complex process into something that was simple in it’s brilliance. Isn’t that what design is about?

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  • http://www.1934.cc Callie

    Interesting. I want to read that book!

  • zachary

    Great post. Interestingly, I came across another post that looks at the creativity of a new American Football strategy with links to Dutch soccer and architecture and design. I think you'll find it interesting in light of your post:
    http://scottburnham.com/?p=256

  • http://designnotes.info/ michaelsurtees

    thanks for mentioning that url, really cool article Zachary