Imagine a windowless, bare room. Every corner and every square inch of the walls and floor are utterly without illumination. And there is a person living in this room—someone who, in fact, has never lived anywhere else.
The only exception to the room’s blandness is right in the center, where sits a small table bordered by two chairs. Overlaying the tabletop is a chessboard. On the squares of the board rests a beautiful chess set, nicely bathed in a little pool of light. Those chess pieces and the board are the only things in the light, and the only things the room’s occupant ever looks upon.
Now imagine that, every week or so, another person slips in through a hidden door to sit at the table. Our room’s resident has been playing chess with this other individual since he was quite young. You can imagine, over the years, how important the game of chess has become for our resident! Since it is all he ever sees and knows, the entirety of his world balances on what occurs on that little board. What happens to a knight, a queen, a pawn, undoubtedly means absolutely everything to him.