Chess is a war over the board. The object is to crush the opponent’s mind- Bobby Fischer.

CHESS, popularly known as Game of Kings and rightly so, is more than merely a game. It is a Handcrafted battlefield containing sixteen warriors on either side, who till their last breath protect their respective king; Imagine all this taking place in a field of sixty four squares !!

The origin of chess is as mysterious as the game itself. While some argue that the origin of the game lies in the country of India, others trace it to an Egyptian origin. Whatever be the origin, it is an undeniable fact that the game has transcended regions and religions, countries and borders. How can one forget the parallel cold war that ran rampant between the USA and the USSR, all over an area of 64 squares !

Prominent players

There have been many exceptional players of the game, one surpassing the other. From the legendary Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov to the modern day greats Magnus Carlson  and Hiraku Nakamura, each one have their own style, their own battle plan. India has seen its share of Grandmasters too from the veteran Viswanathan Anand to Praggnanandhaa, India has made its mark in the game of chess.

Chess at School level

While age is just a number and more so, when it comes to chess, the preferred age to learn chess happens to be between seven to seventeen, where the mind is uninhabited, flexible and adaptive. People who learn chess at a young age tend to have a brighter and smarter mind, which is quintessential in all aspects of life. Recognising the importance of chess, several countries have introduced chess as a part of the syllabus for young kids along with their academics. Gujarat in India adopted this initiative followed by Tamil Nadu and hopefully, many more states to come.

Why to play Chess

The benefits of playing chess are as many as the permutations and combinations that can be derived from the sixty four grids on the board. Besides improving cognitive skills to the optimum, chess also helps to formulate a strategy, adopt it and implement it, foresee and predict the opponent, be on the vigil for any move and to redo all these in case things go south. It is an undeniable fact that Chess increases your brain capacity and provides more than the required exercise to your brain. It enhances your reflexes and response time and takes your thinking capability to unprecedented levels.

Moreover, the never give up attitude and how the tables turn i.e., Pawns becoming Queens makes us prepared and ready for identical situations in our lives. No wonder the saying goes “Pawns; they are the soul of chess”.

Chess day

To commemorate the founding day of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), annually, the International Day of Chess is celebrated on July 20. Every second Saturday in October is celebrated as National Chess Day in India. Not that chess requires a specific or a particular day to be celebrated, still, the game is so wide spread and famous that it calls for the necessity of having a special day.

Best indoor game

Chess is widely considered to be the best indoor game of all time. It is inexpensive, can be played anywhere and does not require a separate set up except for the simple board, the sixteen pieces and the two people playing it. A Survey reveals that people who have spent more time playing chess have heightened Cognitive abilities and lesser reaction time. Besides, it was found that they develop a tendency to calculate a myriad things within a short span of time and eliminate the irrelevant and trivial aspects.

  Life lessons

Chess is one of the very few games that resembles life in its fullest. You have a king, a queen, rooks, knights, and soldiers who stand at the frontline willing to lay down their lives in service of the king. It calls for the loyalty and bravery of the soldiers. It is interesting to know that the word “Checkmate” comes from the Persian phrase “Shah mat” which means “the king is defeated”.

Inference to be drawn

Besides helping us mentally and psychologically, chess also makes us prepared for real life scenarios. It helps us in understanding and more importantly reading the minds of others. It makes us observe the actions of others and how to decipher the actions and read the people. It also helps us in having a contingency in any situation. No wonder, people who are good at chess have exceptional levels of Intelligence Quotient.

When you are feeling down and low like a pawn, do remember that if you hold on and move forward, you will become the powerful Queen one day.

By: Poojitha bapathu

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