The Game of Chess

Posted: March 17, 2010 – 1:06 am

Chess is probably one of the oldest and most famous games in the world. It is believed to have originated from India as early as the seventh century, although the exact origins of chess are unknown. Chess has appeared in many shapes and forms. Today most people play what is known as Europeans chess. Chess is a universal game – universal in the sense that it is accepted and played in every country and culture. There are many tournaments held worldwide and many more in each individual country.

The basic rules of chess are simple, however to be able to play strategically and master tactics requires skill and dedication. In its modern form the game consists of an eight by eight board of alternating black and white squares and chess pieces. Each player has sixteen different pieces, which are used to play the game with. A player starts off with a king, a queen, eight pawns, and two each of bishops, knights and rooks. The aim of the game is to corner and immobilize the opponent’s king so he cannot make any further moves.

Modern chess is also known as the ‘queens chess’ as the queen is the piece with the most power. It can move any number of squares in any direction, given there is enough space to maneuver. All pieces move in straight or diagonal lines with the exception of knights. A knight’s movements are similar to the shape of the letter ‘L’. When the opponent’s king piece has been immobilized it is known as “checkmate”.

Chess has many benefits and it is now being taught in many schools over the world to children from a young age. It has many academic benefits and improves ones ability and skill. Chess improves a child’s thinking ability by teaching many skills. These include the ability to focus, plan tasks ahead, thinking analytically, abstractly and strategically and consider all the options before making a move. They also improve one’s social and communication skills by playing against another human player. Research has shown that kids that play chess regularly have a significant improvement in their math and reading ability.

Nowadays chess can be played pretty much anywhere. All you need is the board and pieces and somebody to play against. If you cannot find another person to challenge then there are plenty of computerized versions of chess. The software comes in many different versions such as 2D or 3D and with nice animated effects or just as a plain board and pieces. It is possible to play against a computer player and up the difficulty level if required. With the advent of the Internet it is now easily possible to search for many other players online whom to play against.

Garry Kasparov is one of the world’s most famous chess players. He is a chess grandmaster and one of the strongest chess players in history. He has the highest ranking on the FIDE listing. Ranked first in the world for nearly all of the 20 years from 1985 to 2005, Kasparov was the last undisputed World Chess Champion from 1985 until 1993; and continued to be “classical” World Chess Champion until his defeat by Vladimir Kramnik in 2000.

In February 1996, IBM’s chess computer Deep Blue defeated Kasparov in one game using normal time controls, in Deep Blue – Kasparov, 1996, Game 1. However, Kasparov retorted with 3 wins and 2 draws, soundly winning the match. In May 1997, an updated version of Deep Blue defeated Kasparov in a highly publicized six-game match. This was the first time a computer had ever defeated a world champion in match play. An award-winning documentary film was made about this famous match up entitled Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine.

Dave Markel

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Understanding The Game of Chess

Posted: February 26, 2009 – 5:11 pm

Chess is an interesting game and learning it is not difficult. There are three phases of the game. The first ten to fifteen moves make the opening phase, then there is middle game and lastly the end game. However it is not necessary that the game lasts through the tree phases. It can end before hand also if someone makes big blunders initially. All the three phases are played differently. One needs to develop the forces in the opening phase. This is done so that the player becomes ready for the middle game. To make yourself perfect in the game, you need to follow some basic steps. These steps are offered by the world class chess players. Of course you need a lot of experience to master the art of playing chess.

When you move a piece from one position to another, it is said to have developed. So, development is the most essential principle that is applied initially. When a piece is developed, its mobility as well as the number of squares it controls increases. You must complete the development before you put any plan to work. Development is essential as it may also develop pressure on your opponent by threatening one of his pieces. Complete the development for it can lead to bad times ahead!

Controlling the centre is very important as this is the place where most of the strategic battles take place. A piece which is placed in the centre exerts big pressure as it controls a number of squares, so it has to be nicely placed. Central pawn moves are preferred in comparison to side pawn moves because the centre is controlled by the movement of the pawn. Regular piece development may also help in controlling the centre.

You should never postpone castling because king safety is very important. It increases the safety of the king and also helps in development of the rook. To be on the safer side, you should go for short castling. You are giving an opportunity to your opponent to attack your king in case you dont castle. However there are cases, when you should not castle.

Planning is the most important step. Make a plan in your mind and play accordingly. You plan should include where the development of pieces will take place. How the pawn moves should also be included in your plan. Importance should also be given to Move Order. Usually, the pawn moves first, so that the centre is controlled properly. The knight moves next as they have a less number of squares to develop. Bishop moves last as they can be developed at a number of squares. Castling should not be postponed. Do not move your queen initially. By doing this, you are actually giving a chance to your opponent to threaten your queen. Develop the heavy pieces also.

When playing the opening game, you should keep certain things in your mind. Lets take an example if White moves first. In total there are 8 pawns, and they can advance up to 2 squares. Other than the two knights, the rest of the pieces cannot be moved. The knights can advance to two squares each. White needs to remember the basic principles- first the development, then controlling the centre and finally formulating a plan. To start the development one may also move the knight. 1.Nc3 and 1.Nf3 are also good moves. However do not place your knight on h3 or a3 as it is far away from the centre. Move the pawns first, so1.e4, 1 .d4 and 1.c4 is good choices. Though 1.f4 move is suitable but it weakens the king slightly. Dont move the pawns a, b, g or h as they do not control the centre. Moves like 1.d3 and 1.e3 are acceptable but they should not be usually made.

White has more options if white plays with 1.e4 and BLACK respond with 1.e5. The White is queen and its bishop that is placed at f1 can also move now. Next, White should include all the basic moves like 2.d4, 2.Nf3, 2.Nc3, 2.Bc4. though there are some other good moves also; these are considered the best ones! White should not move 2.Bd3 as it has some limitations. It prevents the pawns from making advances and bishops mobility is not increased. The pawn needs to move so 2.Bd3 should not be moved. This is just an example to show as to how you can play chess by following some basic rules and using your own logic and judgment. These basic principles are not universal but you can use them to be on the safer side!

George Wood

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