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Basic Trope: A character is shown playing chess to indicate that they are smart.

  • Straight: Stan entertains himself between decoding ancient Uru etchings by playing chess.
  • Exaggerated: Stan entertains himself by playing chess against 14 other players simultaneously. While decoding ancient Uru etchings.
  • Justified: Stan is The Chessmaster.
    • As a child, Stan played games daily against his father, a world-champion chessmaster.
  • Inverted: Stan is an idiot who plays chess by treating the pieces as action figures.
  • Subverted: Stan is shown playing chess absolutely brilliantly. People assume he's smart, but he's actually an Idiot Savant.
    • Stan is a brilliant man, but he's never been able to get the hang of chess.
      • Or alternatively just never tried chess, or does not like it, etc...
  • Double Subverted: But despite being an Idiot Savant, he's not just a great chess player; he's a genius in other, more useful, areas as well.
    • When forced to play, it turns out Stan is EXCELLENT at chess... it just doesn't interest him at all.
  • Zig Zagged: The Smart Guy's house is full of classic 1960s-1980s Turn-Based Strategy Board Games, including a Diplomacy set open on a table showing a midgame position. No chessboards are visible or mentioned.
  • Parodied: Stan entertains himself between decoding ancient Uru etchings by playing tic-tac-toe.
  • Deconstructed: Stan begins to apply chess-like thinking to all aspects of his life... which wreaks havoc with his personal relationships.
  • Reconstructed: Stan treats chess as a hobby, and doesn't try to draw grand life lessons from it.
  • Averted: Stan is a genius, but isn't shown playing chess.
  • Enforced: The program is produced by Gary Kasparov.
  • Lampshaded: "Stan's so smart, you can tell he plays chess for fun."
  • Invoked: Alice gives her son, Stan a chess set for his birthday to help make him smarter, or at least seem smarter.
  • Exploited: James sets up a chessboard in an interesting puzzle situation to distract Stan from the trap he is about to spring.
  • Defied: "I don't waste time with chess. Playing with people is so much more fascinating."
  • Discussed: "Let's have a friendly game of chess to demonstrate the Xanatos Speed Chess I used to Out Gambit you."
  • Conversed: "Glasses and a chess set. This must be The Smart Guy of the Five-Man Band."

Back to Smart People Play Chess.

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