Friday, 1 August 2014

Chess - The Game of Kings, Queens, Knights and so forth…

wrritten by Richard Braithwaite
Geoff Dellow's photos from the Luxemberg Gardens, Paris:  where they play chess evey day of the year: rain , snow or sun.

Richard has promissed me more articles in the future

With the rich and varied history that comes with chess, especially with regards to it’s origin (it is believed to have begun in India, but remains a mystery) it is easy to get lost in the facts and figures. It’s true that it requires a mind interested in the depths of infinite variations but it is purely your approach that gets your gears running, and your mind engaged.

The simplest approach for a beginner is to simply treat it as a game and a bit of fun. Whilst this may lead to you losing your first few matches, it is the experience that you will gain which will help you to wrap your head around most of the rules and regulations.  Is it a sport or a game, but we’ll address that another day?

The board is divided into 64 squares, with sixteen pieces on either side arranged in a specific order.  A significant amount of symbolism is apparent in each playing piece, mostly based in the medieval hierarchical system, acting as representations for the on-going struggle of life of differing social status. The black and white board and pieces naturally shows duality, the opposing forces that surrounds us in everything but, showing the good nature of the competition, white goes first.

In terms of symbolism, its up to you how you can see it, from the superficial to its core it best to not let be daunting to you. Everyone has there own interpretation of this quite complicated game and its best to remember thats also about who you play. The prism of personality can be taken into account, the way a pawn or Queen is placed showing its worth through the move, the way the pieces are set-up and especially body language. The expert players have been known to make moves without even thinking about it, their arms moving without thinking in almost Zen-like wisdom. This comes comes from detachment of any personal emotion and complete objective rationality.

To go into the more mathematical side of this, what becomes clear is the statistical value of pieces can be redundant when a clear plan is in made. 

Pawns, seemingly insignificant as the name implies but this is debatable the most important piece even after they changed the Queen from moving one square a turn. Working together, they make nearly impenetrable defenses or becoming Queens, traveling the full board and are often forget in the end game. When sacrificing pieces invariably the pawn would be first to go but in order to have any enticement it would have to be any of the other pieces and knowning when to do this is one of most important lessons to learn. Nothing is more embarrassing than checkmate after a Queens sacrifice save perhaps a Fools mate, (checkmate in two moves).

A way to keep it interesting, play some of variation of chess, 3D chess, battle chess and just try with a clock to really push your skills,  to name only few variations.  What I encourage the most, is to find someone to play with, no better feedback can be found than someone sat across from you nor any improvement than the company of another likeminded player. At Ulverstons Chess club, "Leave em Laughing", we welcome everyone interested in chess, good company and a fun time.7:30 till 11:30 every Monday and Tuesday at the Stan Laurel Pub.  Want something for the weekend? On the Market Square ~ every Saturday we can -10:30am   to as late as 2 pm- we bring out the giant chess board for everyone to try. Beginners very welcome.

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