I am very interested in hearing from people who found love (or are trying to find love) on Lichess.
A recent study out of Stanford Unviersity (web.stanford.edu/~mrosenfe/Rosenfeld_et_al_Disintermediating_Friends.pdf) showed that some 39% of heterosexual couples that got together in the US in 2017 met online. This number is increasing, and by 2030 it is predicted that over 50% of relationships will begin online.
In evolutionary biology, it is known that organisms that have to co-operate and compete with other organisms of their species inevitably arrange themselves into dominance hierarchies. Jordan Peterson states that dominance hierarchies are predicated on competence. In terms of human attraction and mating, he further states that "Women mate across and up dominance hierarchies, men mate across and down. The socio-economic status of a woman determines almost zero of her attractiveness to a man where as the socio-economic status of a man is a major determinant of his attractiveness to a woman. And it isn’t his wealth. It’s his capacity to generate and be productive and to share".
On Lichess, there is a dominance hierarchy, since higher rating indicates greater competence. Competence conveys a lot of useful information about a potential mate. For instance, their genetic quality (innate ability to solve problems and think creatively) and their character traits of working consistently and hard long term. Success in the chess rating competence hierarchy therefore also predicts ability to be a good mating partner, since women/children are more likely to be protected by a man with traits that lead them to climb a dominance hierarchy succesfully.
While chess is a hobby, we are also humans, with desires to find relationships and produce children. There were 320,953 active blitz players this week. Let us assume that 50%+ of them playing more than a few hours of chess per week. This is an enormous pool of humans who are likely to be looking for relationships, especially given that the quantity of time playing chess correlates with probability of not currently being in a relationship.
Given that we spend so much time participating on this website, it makes sense to also use this time to find a mate. Personally, given that my rating is in the 98%+ percentile, it also makes sense to utilise this position in the dominance hierarchy and the information it conveys in order to secure prospective mates. From an evolutionary standpoint, if I did not do this, there would be limited utility in climbing the chess rating hierarchy in the first place.
Anecdotally speaking, I also met a beautiful girl at a coffee shop a few weeks ago and asked her on a first date. During the date, she asked about my passions and I told her of my interest in chess. Then I showed her some of my favourite opening variations that get imbalanced positions with lots of activity and dynamism. I actually got the Lichess app out and flicked through a few master games from the database, pointing out the imbalances and positional trumps. She didn't understand it at all. She said she "didn't really know the rules of chess" and "would rather we talk about some other things where we have common ground". I was disappointed, since my mentors told me that the enthusiasm of speaking about your passions is attractive by itself. I am starting to doubt whether this advice really holds up to reality testing. We did not meet again and she is not replying to my texts.
While disappointing, this experience got me thinking - why would I first meet a stranger, then hope they understand my passion for chess. The much more efficient method would be to start by selecting from the pool of passionate chess players, then try to begin the process of romantic courtship with chess as a common ground.
I believe that many of us can find love here on Lichess. I am very curious to hear of (1) any success stories of relationships beginning on Lichess and (2) your specific strategies to move things from "just opponents" to more "romantic".
Long term, Lichess could introduce Dating as one of the options displaying under the Community tab at the top. i.e. Players / Teams / Forums / Dating. I'm also open to first dates with anyone reading this who is romantically interested.
🙏 Warm regards, Burrower 🙏
Personally I wouldn't tell anyone I've just met, date or otherwise I play chess. If someone I meet asks me my hobbies I give a non commital answer that doesn't really mean anything and deflect the question right back and get them talking about theirs instead. People generally form an opinion about others in a matter of minutes. None of my friends know I play chess and I'm fine with keeping it that way. Chess is viewed (by society) as a game for nerds and a waste of time from what I've seen so I keep my enjoyment of it to myself. It's a shame but that's just how it is. Better to not be transparent than straight up lie about what you like. Props to you for actually having the guts to bring it up on a first date though. Not expecting to find love on this site either, doesn't seem like the appropriate place to look. Besides I barely see anyone from my country on here as it is let alone a potential love interest.
@General-__-Advance Thank you for your perspective. Wishing you a good day.
I would rather be honest about who I am - a chess nerd who loves opening theory. Yes, you are right about the potential for bad first impressions. But this is romance, rather than business. If it is someone who I might potentially spend the rest of my life with, I would rather they know who I am immediately and reject me sooner than later. If I find out quickly that they do not like chess, then I can spend more time meeting people who do. This also one reason that Lichess is such a good place to start a relationship.
I invite you to consider that you have not found love here yet because you have not been looking for it. A quote comes to mind “When you see beauty all around you, beauty will seek and find you, even in the most unexpected places.” Alberto Villoldo.
It's interesting to compare romance to chess theory. They share a number of attributes: Opening theory is vital for both. Sometimes, you have to make sacrifices (pawns in chess, time/money in romance) in order to gain the initiative. It's a good idea to memorize some lines in both romance and chess. Obligatory inappropriate comment about mating patterns.
It would appear that chess players, being more familiar with these themes, would have a comparative advantage in terms of dating than non-chessplayers. This means that they would have less of a need to use this website in order to find a mate, as this advantage can be leveraged in a traditional market.
Excellent points @clousems. Chess is definitely a good analogy for courtship on many levels, as well as chess skill being an advantage that can be leveraged successfully.
I have also undertaken mental experiments in viewing chess differently, to see how my chosen frame of reference influences my style of play. For instance, we could see the concept of mating the opponent king as it usually is, violent and territorial. Or we could see is as a process of seduction, whereby the other persons barriers and guard are gradually broken down by our strength of character and attractiveness, until we end in the passionate embrace of the "mating" act. My play definitely became more tender and frisky during this phase.
While your point about chess players having a comparative advantage in traditional markets is true, dating within Lichess also has many advantages. One of these is the presence of the rating hierarchy. The higher the rating, the more it signals genetic quality and other characteristics that are beneficial for offspring. A higher rated player would be wise to leverage his position in the hierarchy to solicit more dates. There is also no reason why a chess player cannot leverage his advantages in both markets simultaneously.
lol jordan peterson
@clousems Agreed. Chess thinking translates well to many aspects of life IMHO
@Burrower As the father of women I suggest you listen to them. If you got in to showing off games of masters and chess theory on your first date, then you are doing all the talking. That won't work. Ever. Ask questions. Listen to their response. Search for something to ask based on their answer. Get them to to talk and relax. After 14,293,466 years they will be ready for you to talk about chess. Take it for what's it worth (free) but I'm RIGHT.
Thanks you for your input @killF7. I especially value your experience given that you are a father.
For clarity, I do always try to listen at least 50% of the time. In this case she had been talking about her last holiday to the French Alps, how much she loves skiing and the mountains. It sounded nice, but I don't know anything about skiing so I wasn't really sure how to respond. I said it sounded really exciting and I'd like to see some pictures, then just took the opportunity of a natural pause in the conversation to show her some games from my favourite openings. I thought it would be a good chance to showcase my passion and enthusiasm, even if she didn't play herself. Since I have also never been skiing in my life, but I still liked listening to her talk about it.
While I agree that listening is good, since chess is a big part of my life, do you not think it is secretive to hide my main interest? Even if concealing my interests works to create attraction, it would definitely make me feel a bit deceitful.
Tinder is the way to go.
Your profile could be: "I LOVE CHESS. Chess is as a process of seduction, whereby the other persons barriers and guard are gradually broken down by our strength of character and attractiveness, until we end in the passionate embrace of the 'mating' act. 2200+ Lichess.org rating @Burrower"
The modesty when your ratings are checked out will stand you in good stead.
@Burrower Don't hide your love for chess or any type of cover-up. That's not what it's about. It's about showing another human being that there is enough room in your life for you to be interested in, and caring for, another person. You can do that by getting them to talk. At risk of a landslide of backlash, please allow me to suggest that....yes....women like to talk.
When she says she went skiing in the alps, here are the questions you should ask in order to keep her talking throughout dinner the drive home and beyond:
Wow! the Alps? Who's your daddy? (OK this one's a joke - I couldn't resist)
Wow! The Alps? What did the building you stayed in look like? (nice open ended question - can't answer with yes/no)
What was the elevation?
Did you have to adjust to the amount of oxygen due to altitude differences?
What brand of ski do you have?
Do you like your skis?
Why do you like your skis
How do you stay warm?
What makes skiing fun?
Do you go to the alps often?
Where else do you go?
Did you ever get hurt skiing?
What do you do after skiing?
What did you eat?
What did you wear?
Did you fall?
Mr. Burrower - I could do this allllllllll dayyyyy. But you're a chess player. You get it. Good Luck!