Chess – A Game of mental growth and development

Chess is one of the oldest and most popular board games. It is played by two opponents on a checkered board with specially designed pieces of contrasting colours, commonly white and black. The objective of the game is to capture the opponent’s king.

 It is one of the most popular games in the world. Millions of people play it both recreationally and competitively. Chess is a turn-based strategy game with no hidden information. For this reason, the element of luck is virtually non-existent in the game.

Where did chess originate?

Chess first appeared in India about the 6th century CE. By the 10th century it had spread from Asia to the Middle East and Europe. Some regard the game chaturanga to be the precursor of modern chess because of the different piece abilities and the win condition being the capture of a singular piece (king).

Rules for playing chess

To play chess, players need at least a set of chess pieces and a chessboard. A chess clock is also necessary if players decide to play a timed game, and players often use a score sheet to record their moves.

A chess piece set has two different armies of pieces, each containing eight pawns, two knights, two bishops, two rooks, a queen, and a king. Players can distinguish their armies based on their colors, with light and dark pieces. Regardless of the actual color of the pieces, the light side is called White, while the dark side is called Black—reminiscent of the ivory and ebony pieces used in the past.

The chessboard has 64 squares organized in an eight-by-eight grid. The board is checkered with dark and light squares. The board is divided into ranks and files.

Chess clocks are tools that can mark the remaining time each player has. They can also add extra time for each player after they make a move (called increments).

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Chess Pieces

On the magical board of 64 squares, there are 32 pieces with White having 16 pieces and Black having 16 pieces at the beginning of the game. As the game progresses, both White and Black lose some of their pieces owing to each side gaining some amount of advantage in the course of the game.

Each piece has an assigned numerical point value depending on whether the piece is a short-range piece or a long-range piece; i.e, the value depends on the number of squares on the chessboard the piece can cover.

At the beginning of the game, each player has One King, One Queen, Two Rooks, Two Bishops, Two Knights and Eight Pawns.

Let’s take a look at a detailed explanation of each of these pieces.

1. The King

The King is the most important and integral piece on the chessboard and usually, all chess strategies are based around protecting your own King and attacking the opposite King. If you trap the opposite King, it is called a checkmate, which means, you won the game.

2.The Queen

The Queen is considered to be the most powerful piece on the chessboard with the highest calculatable numerical value of 9 points. The Queen is a long-range piece that can move in all directions but cannot jump over any piece and can cover as many squares as it wishes to. The Queen is an exceptionally strong Queen, hence protecting and actively using your Queen is very important in a game of chess.

3.The Rook

The Rook represents the elephant on the board and is worth 5 points. It is a long-range piece where the Rook moves in a straight direction vertically and horizontally. Both White and Black have two Rooks each placed on the edge of the board, that is the ‘a’ and ‘h’ files. The Rook can move forward, backward and sideways and students find it easiest to learn the motion of the Rook.

4.The Bishop

The Bishop is a long-range piece that moves diagonally and can cover as many squares as possible without jumping over a piece and can capture pieces along the way. Each player has two Bishops and one is placed on the ‘f’ file while the other is placed on the ‘c’ file. The Queenside Bishop is located between the Queen and the Queenside Knight while the Kingside Bishop is located between the King and Kingside Knight.

5.The Knight

The Knight represents the horse on the chessboard and the chess piece looks exactly like the horse. It has a special power as the horse can jump over pieces and moves two and a half squares ahead, behind and sideways. To make it simpler the Knight forms an ‘L’ shape with its movements and is an integral part of the opening and development.

6.The Pawns

Every player gets eight pawns each and each pawn is valued at 1 point each. The pawns represent the soldiers of the army that stand in front of all the pieces on the second rank on each side to guard the more valuable pieces. The pawns can move two squares forward on the first move and then move one square at a time beyond that in the forward direction only. Although pawns move forward, they capture pieces diagonally on the next square.

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