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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