Life is Chess.
To begin a chess game is to step into the unknown, to foresee vague possibilities, to encounter formations at once familiar and unexpected.”A game is like a highly simplified version of everyday life. One’s decisions have consequences for the future. We know that each move we make, in life or in a game, determines a unique path for the future. In both chess and life, our possible paths are in practice infinite. However, in chess it will become obvious relatively quickly whether you made the right choices, because there will be an ending, in which you will win, lose or draw. In this, chess is like a story: there is an ending that makes it clear what it all meant.
In life, there is an ending, but we don’t get to know what it is, because we are dead. The point is that games are like living life-we make decisions that influence the outcome-but in games the situation is set up so that we can know how it all adds up. This adding up, this meaningfulness, is one of the most important things that draws people to games.
But it is not at all unusual for players of chess, like players of many other games (role-playing games, video games, games of chance, etc.) to begin to feel that the world of the game is more meaningful than the world of everyday life. It could be the personality of the player, or it could be the nature of the player’s everyday world, or it could be that the player is really good at the game and falls for the rewards of playing.
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world’s most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.
Each player begins the game with sixteen pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns, each of these types of pieces moving differently. Pieces are used to attack and capture the opponent’s pieces. The object of the game is to ‘checkmate’ the opponent’s king by placing it under an inescapable threat of capture. In addition to checkmate, the game can be won by the voluntary resignation of one’s opponent, which may occur when too much material is lost, or if checkmate appears unavoidable. A game may also result in a draw in several ways, where neither player wins. The course of the game is divided in three phases. The beginning of the game is called the opening (with the development of pieces). The opening yields to the phase called the middlegame. The last phase is the endgame, generally characterized by the disappearance of queens.
White always moves first. After the initial move, the players alternately move one piece at a time (with the exception of castling, when two pieces are moved). Pieces are moved to either an unoccupied square or one occupied by an opponent’s piece, which is captured and removed from play. With the sole exception of en passant, all pieces capture opponent’s pieces by moving to the square that the opponent’s piece occupies. A player may not make any move that would put or leave his king under attack. If the player to move has no legal moves, the game is over; it is either a checkmate—if the king is under attack—or a stalemate—if the king is not.
Each chess piece has its own style of moving. In the diagrams, the dots mark the squares where the piece can move if no other pieces (including one’s own piece) are on the squares between the piece’s initial position and its destination.
- The king moves one square in any direction. The king has also a special move which is called castling and involves also moving a rook.
- The rook can move any number of squares along any rank or file, but may not leap over other pieces. Along with the king, the rook is involved during the king’s castling move.
- The bishop can move any number of squares diagonally, but may not leap over other pieces.
- The queen combines the power of the rook and bishop and can move any number of squares along rank, file, or diagonal, but it may not leap over other pieces.
- The knight moves to any of the closest squares that are not on the same rank, file, or diagonal, thus the move forms an “L”-shape: two squares vertically and one square horizontally, or two squares horizontally and one square vertically. The knight is the only piece that can leap over other pieces.
- The pawn may move forward to the unoccupied square immediately in front of it on the same file; or on its first move it may advance two squares along the same file provided both squares are unoccupied; or it may move to a square occupied by an opponent’s piece which is diagonally in front of it on an adjacent file, capturing that piece. The pawn has two special moves: the en passant capture and pawn promotion.
Life is Chess.