My Father the Rabbi, Chess, Virtual Community, Constructive Kibitzing, and Teaching

Chessgames.com made me think of my father the Rabbi, 50 years ago, lying on his bed on a Shabbos afternoon, after having led his congregation with all his heart and soul and might, with a chess book on his tummy, along with a wonderfully miniature wooden chess set with pegged pieces and, of course, a holey board. If he only had had the technology to dream it into being, Chessgames.com would have existed during his life time. It is a fantastic resource for anyone who appreciates the art of a master player, providing a compendium of master games to step through, and study and even, yes, kibitz on. For real. Integrally. As if kibitzing were an actual option. Actually part of the exchange. Which, of course it is, as it is part of this chat system and even Yahoo Games, for gosh sake.

Constructive Kibitzing

It was yesterday's article - the one about the Happy Pill game and the "Joy of Kibitzing" that got me to Google my way to a virtual world of kibitzing. Which is precisely what leads me to think about the negative side of kibitzing - which gets way too much press - and the positive side of kibitzing, which is finally getting the virtual acknowledgment it deserves.

Teaching

There's such a thing as "good" kibitzing. It's rare, and it's highly valued. Good kibitzing is an art. An art that is remarkably similar to the art of good teaching. Good kibitzing is as empowering as it is useful, as encouraging as it is informing. It helps the kibitzed-upon, enlarging perspectives and increasing alternatives. And it strengthens the kibitzing community.

Remarkably similar.

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