A Critical Explanation: How to Play Chess

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A Critical Explanation: How to Play Chess

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Chess Is Not Just a Game

When I was young, I was already skilled in playing some board games. But until the last week, I finally knew how to play chess and addicted to play it. Chess has been with us for centuries, through countless cultures and historic moments. It was wildly believed that chess, the most prevalent board game, can be traced back nearly 1500 years. Although the earliest origins are uncertain, the earliest predecessor of the game probably originated in India, before the 6th century AD; From India, the game spread to Persia. When the Arabs conquered Persia, chess was taken up by the Muslim world and subsequently spread to Southern Europe. ( H. J. R. Murray,1913). Undoubtedly, if chess is just a game, it can’t exist such a long time. In my opinion, chess is not only a board game for having fun. Chess can bring us something else. In this informative essay, I would like to show you why chess is not just a game and illustrate that why playing chess is important.

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How to play chess:

Before we discuss why chess is not just a game, we have to learn about how chess works. Chess requires two players, utilizing a chessboard and sixteen pieces of six types for each player. On the chess board, there are eight Pawns, one King, one Queen, two Bishops, two Rock and two knights. Each type of pieces moves in a distinct way. Pieces can’t move through other pieces (though the knight can jump over other pieces), and can never move onto a square with one of their own pieces. But the goal of the game is to checkmate (threaten with inescapable capture) the opponent's king. (Alberston,B., 2007). Most of the time, a pawn moves by going up a single square, but the first time each pawn can go forward two squares. The rook may move as far as it wants, but only forward, backward, and to the sides. The bishop may move as far as it wants, but only diagonally. Knights move in a very different way from the other pieces – going two squares in one direction, and then one more move at a 90 degree angle, just like the shape of an “L”. The queen is the most powerful piece. She can move in a straight direction - forward, backward, sideways, or diagonally - as far as possible, as long as she does not move through any of her own pieces. The king is the most important piece, but is one of the weakest. The king can only move one square in any direction - up, down, to the sides, and diagonally. When the king is attacked by another piece this is called "Check". Games do not necessarily end with checkmate. However, if the King is inescapable, the game is over.

Why playing chess is important?

Why playing chess is important? Because chess can train our bairns by teaching us thinking skills. According to the article -- If the Game Is Not a Sport, It Certainly Can Be a Workout(2010), published on the New York Times, researchers studies of top players during competitions have found that top players’ hearts, bairns and respiration rates become elevated. Playing chess is a wonderful mental workout. To a great extent, playing chess requires us visualization, concentration, learning and pushing skills. In other words, playing chess can help us think agilely and critically.

Firstly, Chess teaches us visualization, the skill to form mental images of what is to come and is not yet. We must picture a series of moves in our mind before we touch chess piece. Memory is reinforced this way (Alberston,B.,2007). Chess players memorize hundreds of openings. Strategies and tactics are essential in chess: we must have a scheme, a blueprint of action and try to develop it, with method, casting aside improvisation. Impulsiveness does not belong to this game. Secondly, chess trains us the ability of concentration. According to Bobby Fischer (2006), he pointed out that “chess demands total concentration.” people need to play a great attention to every move that your enemy plays. Sometimes, you need to think about the reasons for his or her moving and think about your strategies. If you distract by others, you may lose the game quickly. Excepting the concentration and visualization, playing chess benefits other invisible aspects of thinking skills as well. The third is teaching our brain learning. Sometimes you can learn from your enemy’s strategy and beat your enemy. Sometimes you can use top players’ strategies to beat your enemy. By training the ability of learning, it helps you to update your brain that always has multiple solutions that can address the problems. Every time it can provide you a plan B, which makes you more efficient when you resolve the issues. The last aspect that chess can train us is the ability of pushing. To come up with a good move you need to find the best candidate moves, look down each one, then make a decision. Then, you need to push to come up with an even better move. If you can't put in that extra energy to come up with a better move then you are too predictable. After your enemy predicates your next move, you are hardly to win the game.

The mind is like a muscle that needs constant training. If people go to gym frequently, you may find those people are much stronger than others. For the same reason, brains can take exercises as well. The more you train the brain, the smarter you will become. By playing chess, it can help people to train different aspects of thinking skills, helping you think agilely and critically. However, people always despise its value. For most people, they treat chess as a family board game, playing it just for fun. If people treat chess more than a game, it can bring us something else to help us become better.


In this reflection section, I would like to focus on the research process. At the beginning, the reason that I chose this topic as my informative essay is because my housemate teach me how to play chess recently. And I think it could be a good topic and there is a lot of content that I can write. After I write this informative essay, I focus on the history of chess. However, there are plenty of resources which contain uncertain content. After I read A history of chess, a very old book which was published in 1913, I found the probable year and place that chess origin. After comparing a lot of reference books and relevant website, I think that chess origin in India. After confirming original place and time, I begin to find the rules of chess. I figure out, different places have their different rules of playing chess. The most prevalent is what I describe above. I asked my housemate, who is teaching me chess. He pointed out, like pawns, someone agrees that if the pawn moves at the against bottom line, it can become an another queen. I did not mention that in my informative essay because I did not know this is correct or not. As for chess can train people’s thinking skills. I believe that. There are a lot of documents record this. They record top players’ training and competitions. And the book 51 chess openings for beginners is a book that teaches people strategies. It means success can be learned form others. After I read the 51 chess openings for beginners and remembered some opening strategy, I feel more easy about chess. Also, the another skill-- concentration is important as well. So I mention in my essay, if I distract by others, I will lose my strategy and lose quickly. Over all, I think the best the research process is experiencing the process and get the feedback.

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