For the Love of Chess

chessYou may not realize it or even care much, but despite the proliferation of technologically advanced games available to be played on all manner of gadgets, one of the most popular two player games is still chess. Here is a game of skill, probably one of the most difficult to fully master and take to its highest level, that anybody can enjoy at any level.

So what is it that makes this game so popular now even when the computer generated alternatives are far flashier, exciting and in many ways just as complex? Let's take a look at the game itself and see what we can discern about its timeless attraction and incredible endearment for people of all ages.

Strategy

If there ever was a game that could be called one of pure strategy, it is chess. Move and counter-move are played out on a small board of just 64 squares with each player having just 16 pieces in their itinerary to work with.

But with those seeming limitations, every single individual game can take on so many different permutations compared to any other game as to be nothing short of astronomical in variation. This creates a situation which is both compelling and fascinating to both players as neither can know exactly how the game will end up.

Some of the best players in the world are capable of "seeing" as many as twelve moves ahead, which when you consider the possible different configurations, moves and piece captures is an incredible feat of concentration and memory. It is a true testament to the awesome power of the human mind.

The Instinct to Win

Of course, the win is the ultimate goal of every player along with the chance to utter that chillingly triumphant word, "checkmate"!

The instinct in every player is to be the winner, otherwise why bother playing any game of skill. There is an instinctive sense of competitiveness in every human being and no matter what well meaning social bodies and groups try to do, the need to compete is not going to go away!

Therefore, the attraction with this and any competitive game is in the striving to get "the win" and not as so many people like to believe, in "the taking part." When you've played one game and won, you want to play another and win! It's as simple and basic as that.

Analogue vs Digital

But there is more to it than just the need to win. Plenty of people play computer games and are adamant that while some can be extremely taxing and require a high skill and concentration level, they do not possess the same allure as chess.

This surely has a lot to do with the difference between playing against an inanimate machine, which no matter what you may think of them is all any computer or hand held device is; and playing against another human being. There is something down, dirty and personal about pitting your wits against another person sitting opposite you.

And it is that sense of personal competition that gives chess its top score for being as popular now as it has ever been. Something you might like to ponder over the next time you grab the board and challenge your worthy opponent to a game.