I think I became a mathematician because I loved to play games as a child. I learned about probability and expectation by playing games like backgammon, bridge, and Risk. But I experienced the greater thrill of careful deductive reasoning through games like Mastermind and chess. In fact, for many years I took the game of chess quite seriously and played in many tournaments. But I gave up the game when I started college and turned my attention to more serious pursuits, like learning real mathematics.
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Benjamin, A.T. (2005). Book Review: Across the noard: The mathematics of chessboard problems by John J. Watkins. Mathematics Intelligencer, 27(3): 76-77. DOI: 10.1007/BF02985847.