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You Thought Chess Couldn't Be More Complex? Add a Bottle of Wine to the Equation

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Stephen Hatala / ONE37pm

Some of the fondest memories are made playing the age-old game of chess. Whether you spent time in the cabin playing against your grandfather during a family vacation like I did, or you were the president of your High School Chess Club 20 years ago, the game of chess has influenced an uncountable amount of people in its 1500 year history. 

More recently, it has seen a major boom in popularity.  The Chess.com App not only allows you to play the game against other players within your skill level but also teaches you advanced strategies and tactics for honing your craft—not to mention the ability to watch world champions play each other on a regular basis. 

Combine that with the popularity of the newly crowned Golden Globe Winner for “Best Limited Series”, The Queen’s Gambit, and you may find yourself thinking that you can be the next Grandmaster. There's only one real way to elevate the vibe of your chess experience: do it while drinking wine! 

Here are three must drink wines to pair with your game, taking your Chess play to the next level:

White Burgundy

Is your Chess game slow and methodical? Then you need a glass of White Burgundy.

I think of wines like Meursault, Montrachet, and Chablis, which are all elegant, subtle wines. They start slow when you first taste them, but when the right time comes, they knock you off your feet. There is nothing like sipping on a glass of Puligny-Montrachet while your opponent thinks things are going their way.  It may be a slow start, but finding the right time for that counter-strike, or takedown of the covenant Queen, is very similar to how White Burgundy can be sneaky complex and swift for a Chardonnay. 

Napa Cabernet

If you are like me, I want to put my opponent into “Check” as soon as possible. I want to push the pace, keep them on their heels, and keep a dominant position on the board. It is very similar to how a Napa Cabernet is aggressive from the time you open it to the last drop. The wine's full-bodied nature can take over your palate with fruit notes, strong structure, and a long yet satisfying finish. I want to take a sip of my Cabernet while moving my Knight on turn 1, taking your Queen on turn 5, and watching you knock your King over as I take the win on turn 12.  

Port Wine

A wine for the thinker, the strategist, the Grandmaster.  Someone who really loves the game on a deeper level. Port is some of the darkest, concentrated and full wines being made. That makes it easier to sip slowly and enjoy. There are some chess players who are special. They see moves multiple turns before you do, they know exactly when they will win, and they can create strategies new to the community that will separate them from the pack. In Portugal, they add Brandy to wine to make Port, so if you don’t take it seriously, you could find yourself in a world of hurt. Much like if I played a game against Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, the #1 player in the world. 

Like wine, Chess has been around for many years. It is enjoyed outside in a park, indoors at a friend's home, and in some situations in very highly contested competitions. There are many parallels between the two, but in the end, it all comes down to having fun and enjoying the company.  Something that both wine and chess can provide.

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