Chess by Jeremy, Thomas, Noel, Amanda & Filippo

History of Chess:

The game called chess is believed to originate from Eastern India in between 220 and 550AD. In the 6th century the game was named chaturanga by the Gupta Empire. The real rules of the chaturanga are unknown. Although there is a short tale that provides a hypothesis on how chaturanga was invented, most of the facts remain a mystery. The legend of the person that created the game is set in India. Legend says that one day a farmer came to the emperor and showed his newly created game to him. After the farmer explained the rules, the emperor was fascinated. He wanted to reward to the poor farmer, so he asked “What do you like as a price for creating this extraordinary game?” The farmer thought for a second and then said “I want you to put one grain of rice in every square and double it for each square across the board.” The Emperor thought it was an easy task, but soon he realized that the amount of rice was increasing so rapidly that he couldn't pay off his debt. There are a few ancient texts that refer to the beginning of chess. They are also some pieces that were found that proved that the game had been around for a long time. The pieces that composed the katurnaha were the chariot, cavalry, elephants and infantry. Those pieces represented the army of the Gupta Empire. These pieces have today been replaced by the bishop, horse, tower, queen and king. The game of chess was first found near the Sassanid Persia around the 600th. The game was at that time called Cathrang. The name was after changed into shatranj, when the muslims conquered the Persians in the (633 - 644). The game became really popular and spread around North Africa, Asia and Europe. The game took different names depending on the country where it was played. In some places in Europe the game’s name was replaced by Shan, meaning King in Persian. In England it was called check “Chess”. In Portugal it was called xadrez.

In 1200 the santraj game was first modified, but with the changes made in 1475 it became the game that we know today. The modern moves have been developed in Italy and Spain. Among them, the pawn could move two squares on the first move and only one square in the next ones. The queen replaced the vizier piece. The vizier was a high officer in muslim countries. Since in Europe there was no vizier, it was replaced by the queen, which is the strongest piece of the game. Many pieces changed shape but did not change in their abilities. For example the king could only move one place in every direction. Also the horse changed his name, but not his L-shape characteristic move. There were also some extra rules added in 19th century, for example that of the stalemate. A situation when the king cannot move without being under check and there aren’t any more pieces to move. If this situation occurs the game would end as a draw. Another rule that was added is that the white always makes the first move. These rules are still in place in the game that we play today.

The rule book of chess: Chess is a board game played on an 8x8 square board. There are two teams each with a variety of players. White team plays first. If a piece on the opposing team gets in the way of a piece on yours, you can take his piece off however your piece has to be in the position where the piece you just took off was.

The king is the centerpiece of the chess game. As a player your main aim is to protect him at all costs, and put the other one into a position where he is under attack and wherever he moves he still will be. This is called check mate and it is the only way to win the game. The king can move one square in any direction as long as there isn’t a piece on his team in the way and that wherever he moves to isn’t threatened by a piece of the opposite team.

The queen is the most valuable piece in the game, worth 10 points. It can move in any direction for as long as the chessboard allows, as long as no piece on either team gets in the way.

Pawns are the abundant piece of the game, there are 8 of them. For every single other piece in the game, there is one pawn. Pawns can only go forwards one square. Although there are two exceptions. If you move a particular pawn for the first time in that particular game, you have a choice to move it one or two squares forwards. Also, if a piece on the opposing team is in the forwards diagonal (diagonal forwards left or diagonal forwards right) the pawn can take that piece in diagonal. However the pawn cannot take a piece of the opposing team that is directly in front of it. A pawn is only worth one point.

The tower is the second most valuable piece in the game, it's worth 5 points. There are only two of them per team. It can move as far as it likes along the squares directly connecting to the square it is currently on. Other than that there is nothing particularly special about it. Although taking one from the opposing team can make the difference between victory and defeat.

The bishop is worth 3 points, it can move diagonally on the color on which it started. It is very useful for tricking the opponent because it is discrete and they may not notice you’re threatening one of their pieces with it. You only have 2 to begin with, one on each colour.

The knight is one of the most interesting pieces, although worth 3 points not one of the most valuable. What makes it interesting is that it can jump over pieces, although it is limited to only one kind of movement. It can jump 2 squares in any direction and then has to land the jump 1 square to the left or right of those two squares. If a piece on the opposing team is on the square where it lands it that piece is taken out the game. Everyone starts with two knights.

Movement of the knight

The strategy book of chess: Chess is a complicated game, that has much more in it then what the rules suggest. The best human players cannot possibly know all possible moves, and neither can computers. Instead, the most promising moves are chosen, and their outcomes are studied. As such, in this short guide, only the surface of chess strategy will be explored - enough to get you started.

First of all, some thumb rules to be followed during all stages of the game - most of the mare common sense, but remembering them in a crucial move could be the difference between losing and winning.

Never put a piece in danger without a plan.

Don’t put out your queen too soon.

Don’t advance pieces for no reason if you know you will have to call them back in one move when the opponent moves a pawn up. This basically gives the opponent an extra turn.

Try to rook at the beginning of the match. This helps bring in extra power into your game.

If you can check the king and advance your piece to a better location without being eaten, do it. This will give you another turn if the opponent must move the king.

Don’t consider pawns as cannon fodder. You will find yourself missing them in the late game.

Queens are most important, then rooks, then bishop, then horse (in the beginning of the game horses may be more powerful, but end game they are more often than not useless).

If you see a danger to your king, don’t push on your attack! You can’t continue your plans once it’s check mate...

Opening the game is perhaps the most important part of the chess match. It tries fulfill several objectives: development of your game, control of the center, king safety, prevention of pawn weakness and and piece coordination. Openings are declined in different categories, including open games, semi-open games, or closed games.

Open games systematically starts off with white playing his pawn from e2 to e4, and black responding symmetrically (picture on the right). This game induces an aggressive response to the white players move, instead of defending. After this first move, the open game may fall under several different openings, including playing the horse from 1g to 3f as to attack the black pawn in e5, which may then create to Ruy Lopez opening, the scotch game opening, or the italian game opening. Other second moves for white include advancing the pawn in d2 to d4, or defending the pawn in e4 by moving the horse in b1 to b3. In open games, the white generally have the advantage since these very symmetrical games automatically gives the first attacker a bonus.

Semi-open games are the result of black playing something else than pawn on e5. These openings grants black a defensive, and as such more still game, letting white develop and gain control of the center. The advantage for black is the ability to build up an attack on e4 without putting any pieces in danger by prematurely fighting the center of the board. Most semi-open openings rely on a pawn game, thus are defensive. They answer to white’s first move by advancing pawns, for example in c6, c5, e6 (the french defence, illustrate in the image on the right), d6, g6 or advancing the horse in f6 or c6.

Closed games happen when the first move of white is pawn in d2 to d4, and black answers by pawn in d7 to d5 (image on the right). Closed games differ from open games, in which the first move consists of moving the pawn in e2 to e4 since in closed games white’s pawn is protected by the queen. This leads to a number of variations, including the queen’s gambit, in which the white’s second move is pawn in e4. Other responses include the colle system (white moves pawn in e3, then answers to black’s move by moving the horse in f3, or the london system, in which instead of moving the pawn in e3 the bishop is moved to f4. Closed games offer different strategies and make a game more exotic than a relatively dull open game.

There is no perfect checkmate guide - or else chess would be of no interest. However following the thumb rules cited above may greatly facilitate the act of winning. Chess is an intricate game with a myriad of possibilities - and it is you that must think, above all. So, grab a board, and go play, because with practice comes good.

Chess review for a slow game: The 2013s World Championship in Chess was coming to an end. The world champion at the time, Viswanathan Anand, was facing Magnus Carlsen, ranked number one in the world. Carlsen plays as white, and starts off the game with a reti opening, leading to control over the four central squares of the board. Anand response with a defensive opening; the Grunfeld opening. White advances with several central pawns and take control over new central squares as well as defending the ones already being controlled by its horse. As a response, black moves its bishop to g7 which threatens the pawn controlling central squares but it also eliminates white’s possibility to move up its horse. After white has moved up another pawn by two squares now putting the black pawn in danger, black decides to move its horse up leading to a trade in case white decides to take the black pawn. Neither of the players open the game aggressively. However, black develops its bishops and horse early on the game causing a small threat to white pieces as well as it takes control over the central squares. Black attacks several pieces including the bishop on b2, causing pieces to now stand without being defended. This was performed mainly using horses due to its ease of moving quickly over the board as well as its possibility to threaten certain pieces without putting itself in danger. The game is very slow as neither of the players are able to develop any good game and they agree on a draw.

2nd review: The game between Bobby Fischer and Donald Byrne is by many considered ‘The Chess game of the History’. Byrne playing as white, opens the game by moving his horse to f3 and a pawn to c4, thereby taking control over three of the central squares. Black also does a reti opening and takes control over two of the central squares, both already being guarded by white. Black opens up on the kingside with its pawns allowing the bishop to move up whereas white is still in a very early stage of developing its pieces. The game changes fast and white has in a clever manner taken control over many important squares as well as he threatens several of its opponents pieces. White has opened up towards the centre of the board using pawns, its queen and the bishop on black squares. All the pieces developed are however being guarded by rooks, horses and the second bishop.

Both sides start threatening pieces in a manner in which they are still in danger. As a viewer, we can already draw the conclusion that the game is going to involve a lot of trading. The game goes quick and as expected, many pieces are traded. The focus both players are putting is keeping their queen as well as putting threat to the opponents’. White’s opening strategy is working well as it is constantly guarding certain squares allowing it to move up and play more aggressive than what black is able to. However, the game once again has a serious turn and black decides to sacrifice its queen, a very surprising move as the piece was earlier a big key in the play. This move is considered extremely hard to find, especially for a 13 year old who is not as experienced. After this move, Fischer, playing as black, is able to move his bishop and rook to put white’s king in check. He then uses his horse to check the king and the opportunities for white’s king is decreased down to one square. Fischers success in this game is mainly due to the positioning of his pieces leading to them being able to work together by protecting each other. He then used his minor pieces to force the king to move into a corner where he ended the game, putting Donald Byrne in checkmate.

The Effect of Chess on the Brain: Chess is a game that makes you think a lot, therefore has some big impacts on your brain. For example, the International chess champion Magnus Carlsen leaned over the 12th chessboard in a long line of half-played games at the Marshall Chess Club in New York City. He stared down at the pieces for a few seconds before moving a pawn forward. In that short time span, Carlsen's brain was looking through thousands of previously played games, moves and choices. He subconsciously looked back through patterns and strategies learned from countless books and lessons to make a quick and good decision. To get to such a result, the best way is to practice and practice and search for different strategies (remember the ones mentioned above). Magnus Carlsen has been the youngest and highest ranked chess player ever recorded. He is ranked number 1 chess player since 2011, won the World Chess Championship in 2013. Despite his incredible accomplishments, he is not the only one to beneficiate from incredible brain faculties. Everyone that plays chess regularly has “super brain powers”. For example, grand master chess players have more activity in their frontal and parietal cortices, areas of the brain that focus on problem-solving and recognition. Children who took classes for 18 weeks had higher IQ scores. Chess has very impressive impacts, and you are going to hear some of them:

Playing chess at a young age can help develop advanced math skills and critical thinking.

Chess players were found to have a smaller brain, which is not actually a bad thing. On the contrary, it actually shows that the brain can be more efficient: it could be a sign of a neuronal efficiency.

By exercising both sides of the brain, players are using the more visually focused right side to recognize patterns from games past and the analytical left side to decide what is the best logical move. This exercise strengthens both sides of the brain, making the player a more advanced and adept thinker.

Teaches you to think in pattern. Grandmaster chess players are able to recognize patterns of games, and use those patterns to have more chances to win.

In a study conducted by researchers at the University of Konstanz in Germany, researchers found that grandmaster chess players use the frontal cortex of the brain when making moves in a chess game. The frontal lobe is an area of the brain associated with problem-solving, suggesting that these players were drawing on previous memories to recognize patterns and make decisions.

Playing chess can prevent dementia and memory loss like Alzheimer. It was found that people that played chess and that were over 75 years old had less chances of getting Alzheimer or dementia.

For students in 10/11 grade, playing chess can significantly increase your grades in math, but where you'll see the most differences will be in languages, like in your English class or your language class.

Created By
Amanda Lia
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