Top 3 Considerations when Buying Your First Chess Board

Glass Chessmen

Glass Chessmen

Buying that first chess board or chess set may appear overwhelming considering that the choice of a chessboard would depend on different factors. These may include the size of the chessboard or the make of the chess pieces. It could also be a choice between utility and artistry. Here are a few tips to help you in the initial purchase of a chess set.

Match the chess set to your purpose. Boxed sets that come bundled with polymer pieces will work well with beginner chess players. Meanwhile, enthusiasts who only play chess for recreation would likely be content with a discounted or travel chess board. Investing in a tournament chess set follows once the beginner steps up to intermediate and expert level. However if the intent is for decorative purposes as well, then you need to shop for chess pieces and a board that meets your fancy.

Determine the function of chess pieces. Chess pieces can be purchased separately from the chess board. Try to look into varied designs and choose one that appeals most to your senses and budget. Molded plastic pieces are usually cheaper while pieces handcrafted from marble, granite, glass and hard wood are usually pricey. If you want to make a statement, then go for handcrafted pieces. If you’re after the game itself, it would be wise to get the more practical type of pieces.

Now if you intend to use the pieces for a tournament chess game later on then make sure that base dimensions conform to tournament guidelines. Consider also the availability of a replacement, particularly when buying custom pieces.

Get a matching chess board to go with your pieces. The beginner chess player should know that the size of the chess board is dependent on the diameter of the king’s base. After all, said piece has the widest base diameter. Official chess tournament rules mandate the base diameter of the king to be not more than 78% the diameter of the square. To simplify the rigid guideline, just make sure not to get a chess board with squares that are similar in dimension to the base of the king. Instead, secure one with squares that allocates ample space around the base of the king.

In terms of aesthetics, the shade of the board is a good purchase starting point. Remember to select a board that is not glossy since its luster can strain the eyes. A single chess game could last from several minutes to a few hours and staring on the board for that length in time would not be healthy to the eyes. Glare influences the player’s mood; spoiling concentration and affecting the outcome of the game.

Remember that the selection of a chess set is really a personal choice. But whatever your considerations or priorities may be in the purchase of your first chess board, consider the tips outlined in this article as your choice could spell the difference between the comfortable and enthusiastic play of a chess game, and perhaps the lack of it.

Top 10 strategies for the Beginner Chess Player

My Young but formidable chess player

My Young but formidable chess player

In order to win at chess, some form of strategy must be implemented to intercept any assault on the chess pieces and of course weaken the opponent’s defenses. Therefore, an intimate understanding of the value and faculties of each chess piece is required of the beginner chess player to efficiently maneuver the chess pieces and achieve some kind of fluidity on the chessboard.

Here are the top 10 strategies for the beginner chess player that will serve as a tactical guidebook in the play of his first few matches.

(1) Master your opening move. The opening move is crucial since that will influence the entire course of the chess game. And while opening strategies may be endless, setting up a pawn in front of either the queen or the king is a sound opening strategy. This basic maneuver opens up paths for the other pieces to spring from the back file.

(2) Establish center control. The squares right on the center of the chess board (d4, d5, e4 and e5) are critical board areas. Thus, the beginner chess player’s initial moves should be dedicated to gaining control of the center since pieces tend to be more menacing and mobile, the closer they are to the center.

(3) Castle early on as much as possible! The king’s safety is crucial. While other pieces can be positioned on the central squares, the king should never be dragged towards it. That is the worst position for the king, whether in the opening or in the middle game.

(4) Do not move the same piece twice in the opening. Each chess piece movement should be complemented by purpose and should likewise improve the piece’s position on the board. Thus during the chess game, take care not to move a chess piece pointlessly.

(5) Never advance the pawn obverse the castled king. This move will open up possibilities for an attack that would be hard to defend.

(6) Never drag the queen out too early in the chess game. The queen is the most enticing target for the opponent to trap, particularly in a crowded chessboard. As much as possible, make the queen the last chess piece to develop.

(7) Advance the knights ahead of the bishop. Chess pieces are rightfully engaged to either aid or defend. Positioning a knight piece on c3 and f3 allows it to defend the pawns and control the important central squares. Said position is foolproof for the knight but not for the bishop.

(8) Do not advance most of the pawns in the opening. Although advancing a couple of pawns should be necessary to establish a formidable position; maneuvering more than that could weaken overall defense.

(9) Attempt for moves disguised to defend, but which is in fact poised as a threatening counter move. Any time you can convince your opponent you are on the defensive when you are not, will give you the advantage when you catch them off guard.

(10) Try to make the positions formidable. Never stage premature attacks as these might end up futile. Counter attacks could even spoil your chances of winning the game.

Chess is an intellectual game and every move has over hundreds of variations to thwart it. But for the beginner chess player, the above strategies will serve as a solid foundation towards becoming more seasoned to the chess game.

A Very Brief History of Chess

Most historical sources agree that a form of chess originated in Asia prior to the 6th century AD.  Eventually the game we recognize and play today appeared in Europe around the 15th century.  The full history of chess is interesting, and very deep, this article will cover just a few of the basics.

Chess became a pastime associated with nobility and high culture, and was even listed as one of the seven skills a noble knight should acquire.  Early games of chess were very slow and sometimes lasted for days, until the movement of some pieces was changed, primarily to speed up the game, and to make reaching checkmate easier.

Knights Templar Playing Chess

Knights Templar Playing Chess

Some of the changes to the game:

  • Pawns changed from moving only 1 space on the first move, to moving up to 2 spaces.
  • Queen no longer only allowed to move only 1 space diagonally.
  • Bishop in early chess moved only 2 squares diagonally.
  • In some areas (mainly Russia) the queen could also move like a knight, but that has changed.

By the 19th century many chess clubs organized quickly.  Books and journal articles on chess started also started to appear in abundance.  The first modern chess tournament was held in London in 1851, and was won by the German Adolf Anderssen.

Some important marks in the time-line of chess:

  • late 10th century – Dark and light squares are introduced on a chess board.
  • late 13th century – Pawns can now move two ranks on first move.
  • late 14th century – The en passant rule is introduced.
  • 1475-1525 – The modern moves for the queen, bishop, and castling are slowly adopted.
  • 1845 – Telegraph is used to transmit moves in a match between London and Portsmouth.
  • In 1861 the use of time limits on competitive matches appeared.  This was due to the fact that some players took as long as 2 hours and 20 minutes to make a single move.
  • 1867 – Mechanical game clocks are introduced in tournament play.
  • 1886 – First official World Chess Championship match was held between Wilhelm Steinitz and Johannes Zukertort.  Steinitz wins decisively to become the first official world champion.
  • 1924 – Establishment of Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE).
  • 1945 –  After World War II, the first international sporting event is USA vs USSR Radio chess match.  The USSR scores an overwhelming victory and would dominate world chess for the next 25 years.

Presently chess is enjoyed by all ages, all over the world.  You can spend as little as a dollar on a chess set,  or spend up to $9,800,000.00 on an actual chess set made of diamonds.  Well, the majority of us can at least look at a picture of it.  :)  It seems after 1500 years of game-play, chess has perhaps become the world’s most loved strategy game.

White King & Rook ready to Castle

White King & Rook ready to Castle