• Padmja Sopori

Check and Mate

Chess is one of the games that should probably be at the top of your list right now, thanks to its indoor nature and the pouring weather outside! It can be seen as one of those board games that involve abstract strategies and tricks to ensure victory. It is a two-player strategy board game played on a checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an 8×8 grid.

The game is played by millions of people worldwide and involves no hidden information. Each player begins with 16 pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. Each piece type moves differently, with the most powerful being the queen and the least powerful being the pawn. The objective is to checkmate the opponent's king by placing it under an inescapable threat to capture.

A player's pieces are used to attack and capture the opponent's pieces while supporting each other. The play typically involves exchanging pieces for the opponent's similar pieces and finding and engineering opportunities to trade advantageously. In addition to checkmate, a player wins the game if the opponent resigns, or (in a timed game) runs out of time. There are also several ways that a game can end in a draw.

The history of chess is stupendous from the place it originated to the time when transitions modified the game play. Around 600 AD, the Arabic game ‘Shatranj’ developed from the Indian game ‘Chaturanga’, becoming the first game identifiable as chess for the masses. The Queen is the most powerful and was introduced into the game in the XV century.

Chess is a game that can go on for long hours and there were no time limits in the initial years. In 1861, the first chess timers were introduced using sand hourglasses with three hours of sand each. Those evolved later into "tumbling" chess clocks, where one clock would start when the other stopped.

Indian chess is booming and the popularity has seen a growth majorly due to chess Grand Master and former World Champion Viswanathan Anand. We currently have 52 Grand Masters and the number is going to grow into three digits very soon. Kids and Adults both are making jaw-dropping records.

Chess remains highly in-demand pastime to this day. A 2012 survey found that "chess players now make up one of the largest communities in the world: around 605 million adults play chess regularly". According to polling organization, YouGov, across varied national demographic profiles (US, UK, Germany, Russia, India), a surprisingly stable 70% of the adult population has played chess at some point during their lives.

From The Wire and The West Wing to Harry Potter, chess remains ubiquitous in popular culture as a metaphor for conflict and power. To develop chess as a hobby is to play for leisure, which can be fun. The benefits will catch your attention.

Chess clubs exist, the rules are universal and anyone can play it. It’s understood by all ethnicities so the game is well understood. It is believed that the game helps in making your problem-solving skills better, ‘it’s the play of the mind.’ It’s a better option for kids to switch from video games. It’s a game with endless approaches and still manages to be at the top of its place! A sport surviving and inspiring millions at a time.