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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Chess: A game of skill, balance, simplicity

    More people should play chess. Contrary to social stigma, it’s not just for nerdy kids in elementary school who can’t play sports. That’s as ridiculous a notion as any other stereotype.

    Though its form may have changed over the last 1,500 years, chess is one of the oldest games still actively played — and it’s survived this long for a reason.

    The game of chess has a fantastic balance of complexity and simplicity. Yes, many lament the fact that chess is hard to play. That’s half true. It’s more accurate to say chess is relatively simple to play, it’s just hard to master.

    As for picking up the basics, it’s as easy as learning how the pieces move. Some go forward, some move diagonal, some move in an “L” shape, and some can go in any direction. That’s all a player needs to know to understand the basics. Of course, knowing only that won’t help you win right away, but that’s the beauty of it.

    Like any good game, chess teaches its players through experience. If a player sits down and thinks throughout the game, he or she will get better without any instruction. Unfortunately, for some reason, thinking tends to be the caveat to many gamers today.

    To be fair, school can be a strain, and a lot of people just want to turn their brains off in times of leisure. That’s a problem though, and it’s hurting us as a generation. Instead of shutting off our brains outside of school, people would be better served to find games that engage their minds, like chess.

    And don’t forget the versatility of chess. Even though each side has only 16 pieces, the different uses of said pieces are plentiful. There are aggressive and passive strategies but also much more nuanced ones, which take years to learn. Chess can be exciting game after game because there are so many possibilities, and no two games of chess are remotely the same.

    As a final reason to play, chess is also available almost anywhere, and in many forms to boot. For example, a basic chess set can run you around $5, with travel sized sets for even less. Most smartphones offer virtual chess as a free app, and anyone with a computer probably already has it pre-loaded under the games section.

    There are a multitude of other reasons why chess is a worthwhile and enjoyable way to spend your time, but what it boils down to is this: Chess is a classic game with a deep, rich history and it has served as a blueprint for many of the games played today.

    As a thanks to everything chess has done for gaming, give it a shot sometime soon and see how much fun you have. You might be surprised.

    _— Jason Krell is the assistant copy chief. He can be reached at
    arts@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatArts._

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