clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Jim O'Brien, Always Thinking Several Moves Ahead

I know these are the offseason dog days, but I never thought I'd resort to linking to a story from the United States Chess Foundation. Of course, at this point, anything is better than another LA Times article about the Lakers, Kobe Bryant, and Jermaine O'Neal.

Actually, big ups to IC reader Ben for pointing me to this USCF post about O'B's love of chess by David Friedman of 20 Second Timeout fame. Plenty of good stuff in this post including the fact that Lester Conner shares O'B's passion for chess. We also learn that Mark Boyle can do more than spit out historic play-by-play calls in big games. Boyle has the chess chops to have competed in the U.S. Open of chess which I'm assuming is not for posers.

As for O'B, I enjoyed his quotes about the parallels between NBA coaching and chess.

Many fans believe that college basketball is a "coaches' game" and that pro basketball is a "players' game" but O'Brien says that this is simply a myth. "Every game of basketball is a players' game ultimately and the coach's job is just to put them in position to be able to do their best. I think that the difference between college basketball and professional basketball is the difference between checkers and chess. The professional game, because it is played with the top athletes in the world, has nuances that are such that there is actually more strategy involved (than in college); the typical fan does not understand the depth of what is going on, much like somebody who would come in to a masters' tournament in chess would not be able to explain what he is seeing. I loved college basketball and I still love college basketball but it's different than what goes on in the NBA--like chess and checkers, college basketball and pro basketball are played on the same board or the same court but they are different."
Just another little sign of the culture change around the Pacers. I like having a chess aficionado running the team. If a little chess fever breaks out among the players, even better. Hee, hee, I just had a visual of several players sitting around playing chess with Dunleavy in the corner asking if anyone wants to play Scrabble. That's the same chuckle I get when I think of Rick Carlisle telling the players about jamming with Bruce Hornsby.