Chess is a board game that requires strategy and tactics. It is a two player game and both the players command an army of 16- which includes the King, Queen, Bishops, Knights, Rooks and Pawns. Almost everybody knows what chess is, but many do not know how to play it. Yes, it is a board game but it not only ‘just’ a board game. There are quite some perks to the game of Chess and hence making it special. Here are some of the points that make Chess special.
- Promotes the health of the brain- When there is no stimulation of the brain, the brain cells slowly deteriorate however Chess is a game that challenges us, especially our brain, giving it a mental work out which leads to the gown of dendrites and the neural communication with the brain and thus improving it. Furthermore, over time with the game of Chess and the technique involved, it helps both the right and the left hemisphere of our brain. The workout that Chess also provides aids in the prevention of Alzheimer. A study featured in The New England Journal of Medicine had found that people over the age of 75 who are engaged in brain games have lesser chances to develop dementia than compared to the ones who don’t play. Chess also aids in the recovery from stroke or other disability as it develops in fine motor skills. The mental effort required to play the game improves cognitive and communication skills.
- Chess boosts our IQ- A scientific study conducted shows that playing the game can raise your level of IQ. A study in Venezuela was conducted where 4000 students’ IQ scores were raised after they were given four months of chess instruction.
- Chess optimises our memory power- Chess requires from its players to remember the complex set of rules and also the various tactics and strategies, so players make use of their memory power and their power of recall. According to a study in Pennsylvania, 6th-grade students who never played Chess before had their memories and verbal skill improved after playing.
- Aids in bringing out creativity – As playing Chess exercises both the sides of the brain. The right side of the brain is responsible for creativity, so it brings out more of our potential. A study was conducted where students were made to play Chess and other activities. The Chess group scored the highest in creativity. It also aids in improving your reading skills.
- Enhances problem-solving skill- Chess requires fast thinking and analysis of both your move and about the opponent’s move. A study was conducted in 1992 were 450 fifth graders in New Brunswick, the study revealed that those who played Chess had scored more compared to the ones who didn’t play. Also playing Chess requires strategic and critical thinking, it helps in boosting the prefrontal cortex development thus brings a development in planning and foresight.
Chess is an intellectual game and also a great test of one’s concentration. There have been several great players in the history of Chess but bringing it down here is a list of the top best players in Chess of all time.
- Jose Raul Capablanca – Capablanca is undeniably the master of Blitz chess. He launched his chess career at an early age. He started learning at the age of 4 and the age of 13, he defeated the Cuban champion, at 18-he defeated the US champion. In 1921, he won the World Championship which he had successfully defended it for six years, 1921-1927. In the year 1922, he played simultaneously against three players and won 102 and drawn 1. He is known for his endgame and his positional play. Capablanca was also nicknamed as ‘The Human Chess Machine’.
- Garry Kasparov – Kasparov started learning about the game at an early age of 10. He began leading the game of Chess at the age of 22. In 1985, he was acknowledged as the youngest champion. He holds an undisputed World Champion title from 1985-1993, World Champion of ‘rival’ organisation to FIDE from the year 1993-2000. Kasparov had a peak rating of 2851 in July 1999 which many considers it the greatest of all time. He remained at the top of his game till he retired.
- Emanuel Lasker – Emanuel Lasker is a German mathematician and a philosopher who began his reign over Chess in 1894. He holds a record of undisputed World Champions for 27 years that is from 1894-1921. He was an excellent tactical and contract bridge player. Lasker founded one of the first chess magazines names ‘The Chess Fortnightly’ which was published from 18892 to 1893. He is still respected as one of the strongest players.
- Bobby Fischer – Bobby Fisher is a genius who is said to have an I.Q of 181, he learned the game at the age of 6 and had begun his career in chess at the age of 14, and had set the record when he became the youngest player ever to win the U.S. Chess Championship- He had won 8 US Championships. At the age of 15- became the youngest international Grandmaster by winning the tournament held in Portoroz, Yugoslavia which is now called Slovenia. In the year 1970, he won 20 matches consecutively in ‘1970 Interzonal’. He is the record setting chess master.
- Anatoly Karpov- Anatoly Karpov learned to play chess when he was only four years old \, he develops his chess skills and at the age of 15 became the youngest Soviet National Master. He won the World junior chess championship in 1969 and became the Grandmaster at 19; he holds the World Champion for a total of 16 years with ten years as undisputed champion. He also won the World Rapid Chess Championship in the year 1988. Karpov set up some chess schools and outreach programs to teach chess to inmates.
Chess is a game of intellectual and a whole lot of concentration. Becoming a chess champ in a week is quite impossible as chess requires you to learn and give a great deal of practice but here is a list of steps on how to step on your first milestone in learning chess.
- Arrangements- as the Chess Board is set up, there are two sets. One set of pieces is the darker colour, and the other is lighter. Choose your settings and set them up on the board. This requires a certain way of positioning the pieces. The white set always moves first so who gets the white is black set is decided by the players Both sides should be arranged in the same way. The second row is filled with the pawns, and in the first row, the Rooks go in the both the corners, then next to it the Knights-both sides again, then followed by Bishops and the King and the Queen. The queen goes to her colour, if your queen is black in color-it goes to the black box and then the King on the remaining box
- Understand the moves – to start playing the game; you need to learn moves of each pawn. Every chess piece has a certain way of moving. Take for example- a pawn. It moves straight and can only attack from one angle, whereas a Knight can move in an L-shape , the Bishop moves at an angle but more than one box at a time, the Rook can only move in a straight line but can go in any direction, the King moves at grand pace with only one box at a time in any direction, the Queen is the strongest piece-it takes one move at a time but can go in any direction and any number of boxes.
- The pieces in the board cannot jump over other pieces, although the Knight can jump over other pieces, all pieces cannot move to the box where one of their own is standing but can kill the opponent off the board and stand in their place.
- The King is the most important piece of the game but is one of the weakest as it can move only one box at a time so it the rest of the pieces should protect their king or kill off the opponent’s King off the board. It is called ‘Check’ When the King is attacked.
- The Pawn may seem weak, but if it reaches the other side of the board, the Pawn can turn into any chess piece. Only Pawns can be promoted
- There are more special rules, but for now, this is the basics. If you want to improve, then there is no denying the fact that you need to play and practice often. Remember to protect your King and take care of your pieces as each piece is valuable.
Chess is a strategic game and knowing to strategize and formulating a plan is an important feature of the game. True Grandmasters spend a tremendous amount time in perfecting their strategy. Being good at Chess requires time and here are some of the best tips to help you get a little better in the game.
- Study and practice the basic Chess strategies. Learn the various tactics and train.
- Advance all your pieces so that you have more ways to attack the opponent’s, King. Don’t let them be resting on their rows behind-waiting. But remember each piece is important so don’t hastily make any moves that will lead you to lose them.
- Move your other pieces besides the King, Queen and the Rook such as the Knights, Bishops and pawns towards the centre of the board so that they can attack. If you have the control over the centre of the Chess Board taking it up with you pieces, it allows you to move your pieces, and it makes it hard for your opponent to move around
- Study your opponent’s moves. Look out for sacrificial pieces. Sacrificing a piece is a forced move made by the opponent, which could be a check or attack.
- It is needed to make sure that when you play with an opponent, you work out what his plan is. Only when you understand the move of your opponent, then you can think about your moves.
- Don’t keep an eye out only for the king, look at the entire board. Sometimes when focusing of the King and what is nearby, we miss out the Rook that was just in the corner.
- Castling, a move that grants you to move your King to safety and your Rook to protect him. This moves the King to move two boxes towards the Rook while the Rook moves next to the King only after all the boxes between the King and the Rook are vacant. When you don’t castle early, your opponent might be able to fire an attack to your King. Castling is the only move in the game that permits more than one of the pieces to move.
- All tactics are made up of elemental patterns and motifs so pay attention to these motifs. Some of the common tactical motifs can be Pin, Skewer, Double attack, Discovered attack, Interference, Removing the guard or even an in-between move. So be alert of tactics and even practice the tactics. The more tactics that you solved, the more you are aware of the patterns and the motifs.
- Analyse your own games. It is one of the best ways where you can learn to develop your strategy, study your weakness, where you went wrong or even know your strength and progress from then on and even develop your own strategy.
- Finally, the best and the most valuable tip for Chess are simply to practice, practice, practice. You can play with your friends, family or even online to enhance your Chess skills.