Playing chess online fast tracks your all-round development
In this Internet age where knowledge about anything and everything can be gathered at the click of a mouse, playing chess online is one of the best options/sources available for the chess player in you to blossom, understand the game in its entirety, enhance your skills by playing chess online with players including your friends and relatives, separated by distance, and, in the process, lead a better life.
Playing chess online, either with another player, or with the computer, is the easiest way to expand your horizon of thinking from different angles and exploring various possibilities that might be contrary to your line of thinking or perception of opportunities or threats from a given position. The only disadvantage, if you may say so, in online chess is that you cannot see the opponent or interact with him as in offline chess.
Let us delve in more detail about the fascinating game of chess and its pivotal role in shaping the quality of a person’s life, which might be the one primary reason for this game to withstand the travails of time and the technological advancement. The advent of computers and the increasing usage of the mail and messenger services have led to the disappearance of the habit of letter writing for most of us. Typewriters are nowhere found in the offices nowadays, and are replaced by the modern computers. But the game of chess, without getting altered or modified in any other way, gets a bigger platform for a vast, and ever increasing, number of chess lovers like you and me to take up the game of chess using the powerful medium of Internet.
“Practice makes perfect” is an old, but gold, adage. Finding a partner and spending quality time with him or her to enhance your skills in the game is turning out to be a difficult proposition of late, thanks to the demands of the day-to-day life in this fast-paced world. Internet provides a solution for this issue in the form of online chess.
History of chess
The game of chess is one of the oldest games played by the human beings and it is no secret that the fascination for the game of chess is still as fresh as it was, if not more, when played by the Kings, members of the royal families of various dynasties and even common people in the ancient period. Records reveal that the game of chess has originated as early as 6th century in India under the Gupta dynasty and spread over to other parts of the world. The game, as we know it now, however, has been familiarized since 1475 A.D in Spain and Italy and spread to other countries.
Why chess is popular?
What is the primary reason for this very ancient game to hold its fort in this Internet age and still fascinate the people at large? Why is it that the computer engineers, fascinated by this game, evince greater interest in exploring the depths of this game and come up with a plethora of websites encouraging players like you and me to play online chess?
Let us try to find the reasons for these questions and in the process revisit the game of chess to understand it in its entirety and try to find out the causes for its popularity, defying the technological advancements.
What is chess?
The game of chess, classified as a board game, is not just an idle amusement, played for time pass by old people who have no other work to do other than kill the time. It is also just not a mere sport of intellect.
One of the broad definitions for this game provided in the ancient books is that “the game of chess is a trial of skill between two parties, in the alternate use of equal means of a specific character, for the attainment of certain ends”.
The above definition broadly encompasses and explains the whole aspect of the game of chess in a succinct and subtle way. The ends of the game here refer to the objective or the outcome of the game. Only there are two possible outcomes in the game of chess and they are either a draw or a checkmate.
Objective of the game
The primary objective of the game, as many of us were taught to believe, is not checkmate. Let us not get confused by this concept of the game of chess. The essence of the game of chess lies in understanding the game in its entirety.
At the start of the game, both the players are provided with equal number of pieces with the only difference being the color of the pieces. Again, each player should move only one piece in a single move only and allow the other player to make his or her move before he can play the next move. Of course, the only exception being the castling part where a player is allowed to move two pieces at a single move. The rules of the game provide that each player be provided equal opportunity and equal powers at his or her disposal.
Hence, there is no scope for any aggression from one player over the other to ascertain his supremacy and claim checkmate over the opponent. No player can claim to have any specific advantage over the opponent, but for the technical expertise and skill set of each player. In the circumstances, checkmate is possible not because of a player’s advantage over the other but due to the blunders or mistakes of the opponent. Again, the game of chess is a trial of strength between the intellectual prowesses of the two players, guided by the principles of the game, and as such, there is no room for passion in this game. In other words, the game of chess is a contest of the intellect without a conflict of the passions.
The logical conclusion therefore leads to the fact that, in the game of chess, a checkmate is not a necessity, but only an accident, and as such, one should give it only second preference. The first and foremost objective of the game of chess is a draw, as the game is a trial of skill with equal powers at the disposal of the two players.
Taking into consideration the above-mentioned facts, we can conclude that the game of chess is nothing but an agreeable and invigorating mental exercise and a wholesome discipline of the passions that would ultimately lead to the acquirement of a skill that is susceptible of the most extensive practical application.
Chess and life – some similarities
One of the primary reasons for the popularity of the game of chess is its intimate link to the real-life world.
The chessboard, having 64 squares spread over in eight rows and eight columns, is the basis or the stage in which the game of chess is enacted. The world in which we live is also referred to as a stage in common parlance, a stage where you live along with your kith and kin and fellow citizens or members of the world.
The game of chess has two sets of chess pieces differentiated by color and distributed equally to the two players. There is no partiality and both the players are provided with the same set of pieces. The pieces distributed to each player vary in the nature and their capability and depending upon their capability, the pieces are categorized as King, Queen, Rook, Bishop, Knight and Pawns. As against one king and one queen, there are two pieces of Bishop, Rook and Knight. However, there are eight pawns. Though pawns are the least valued and have modest capabilities in comparison with other major and minor pieces, they are the only pieces provided with the capability of getting promoted if they pierce through their way to the last rank of the opponent’s area.
In real life, one has to come across, live and interact with many people who have different capabilities and powers. How to handle them and use them effectively in our life is the most important challenge for many of us. It is only in the dictionary that you find the word “success” before “work”. In real life, work is the one that paves for success, and the fruits of work will be the promotion in life to a higher level. This is what the pawns in the game of chess teach us.
Aspects of the game
In the game of chess, we come across the following things – opening, castling, draw or a checkmate. While the opening and the end of either a draw or a checkmate are sure to occur, the probability of castling is relatively less, but it is an absolute necessity wherever possible for a better control over the game and safety of the King.
Similarly, in real world, the opening refers to the life at the outset; castling is akin to settlement in life or in a safe and secure place. Coming to the end, if it were a drawn game, it would be compared to one’s competency or independent existence. On the other hand, if one were to say checkmate, it is a sign of victory and fortune, while one were to hear the word checkmate, then it would be construed to the sign of failure in life and ruin.
As we had already discussed that the only objective of chess can be a draw in the game and checkmate is nothing but an accident, in real life, proving one’s competency and achieving independent existence is the goal and victory or fortune and failure or ruin are only accidents that happen due to mistakes.
Whether it is the game of chess, or the life, one has to follow a set of rules, and regulations and cannot overlook them. Adherence to these rules and regulations are an absolute necessity. Any deviation of the rules might lead to punishment while adherence would bring rewards.
Correlation between chess and life
In the game of chess, which is being played for such a long time, there are some broad rules and guidelines one should follow to achieve the objective of the game. However, there are no broad conditions that one should make only this move in response to that move of the opponent. There is what we call the freedom or liberty to choose a move and execute the same. In a way, one can find that, despite the wealth of experience in the game, chess players often tend to commit the same errors again and again, display the same type of ignorance again and again, and display same things as inadvertency, inattention, neglect etc. etc., again and again.
In real life also, man tends to make the same type of mistake repeatedly at the rush of blood or carelessness or whatever may be the reason, and as a result tend to find himself in a vicious circle unable to come out from the same easily.
This is the one single most important reason for the popularity of the game of chess, and there is not even an iota of doubt that as long as the life exists in this universe, the game of chess and chess lovers like you and me will be there, patronizing this great game.
Let us take this analogy of similarities in chess and life a little further and see what is in store for us in the game of chess that might help us lead a better life
As a chess player, you should be aware of the positions of your pieces in the chessboard and their relative merits or advantages. You should be also aware of actions or duties you should do when placed in a tight corner, as to how to defend your piece or make optimal move that would dissipate the threat. You are obliged to follow the rules of the game and should not try for illegal or wrong moves. You should ensure that there is adequate protection for your King and other pieces. You should avoid any possible threats from the opponent, and at the same time, you should also be competent enough to take advantage of the opponent’s mistakes. Once you follow these prudent steps and adhere to the truth and justice of the game, then it is definitely possible that you can smell success in the game.
On the other hand, if, as a chess player, you make some foolish moves or be short sighted having not calculated or understood the position in the board, then you are bound not to succeed and should be only embracing failure.
The same concept is equally true in real life as well. Success follows the persons who follow the path of truth and justice and failure embraces those who are short sighted, flirting with truth and indulging in foolish activities.
Psychology and chess
Why does the man, be it in life or in the game of chess, face failure or hear checkmate more often than others?
One possible reason is that man is governed in his life not just by his knowledge alone. A number of other things play a vital role.
In the game of chess, a move of the person is not purely governed by his knowledge of the game. The other things that impact his move include his character, attention to the game, will or desire, and to some extent the mood the person at that point, all these play a vital role in the execution of a move.
The same analogy is true in a person’s life. He or she, though aware of the consequence and has knowledge about the same, indulges in some things or takes some decisions at the instance of the mood, desire, attention or may be passion. The result of such actions would not be favorable and so he might not be successful in the life.
Psychology plays a vital role in the game of chess, as is the case with life. This is the reason why many psychologists and doctors experienced in this field are studying the intricacies of the game of chess and the players’ responses to the challenges in the game, to assess the person’s character and attitude towards the life at large.
The various features of assessing the position, weighing the options, executing the plan for successful defense, look-out for mistakes of the opponent, which one gains by constantly playing chess, unknowingly, would definitely help in the due course and help that person become very successful in life.
Play chess online
We come back to the original concept of playing online chess, with which we originally started.
Playing chess online with computer, or playing chess over the Internet with a friend or any anonymous person using the Internet will help a person enhance his or her intuition skills and other skills such as clear knowledge and understanding of his or her position, weighing the threats and opportunities in life, eliminate the threats and embrace the opportunities, and such other important things about life.
Benefits on playing chess online
Though the concept of the game of chess is the same and the rules and regulations governing the game are universal, it is but natural that the teaching methods and the learning aspects of the game could be different from region to region or from country to country, depending upon the level of importance and understanding given to this fascinating game of chess. For example, the teaching methods and the learning process in the powerhouse of chess game in the world, Russia, is quite different from other regions.
The game of chess has a lot to do with the psychology and this aspect is given more importance for players aspiring to learn chess in Russia. This might be one of the reasons for the supremacy of Russian players in the world of chess for a very long time. Even today, the presence of Russian contingent in any international chess tournament is considerable. The same thing is applicable to all other countries.
Playing online chess with players not known to you before will provide an opportunity to learn the game from different perspectives, enhance the knowledge base to a broader level such that the knowledge overshadows other common errors that one normally tends to make in the game of chess due to inattentiveness, mood, or passion.
Choosing the player with similar skill set
One very interesting and useful benefit of playing chess online with the computer or with another player through the means of Internet is that you can pick players who have similar skills as you possess. For example, as a novice in chess game, you can opt your opponent in online chess to be also a novice. The more games you play, the more you gain confidence and knowledge about the game. If one were to improve upon the skills and enhance his or her capability, it is always advisable to try out your skills with an experienced player.
Again, if a person is really interested in enhancing his or her skills of the chess game, it is a good idea to attempt for a draw or a possible checkmate over an experienced player than winning over inexperienced players. It is the loss or failure which inspires more for learning and growth than the victory or success, whatever may be the context.
Through the means of online chess, one can get an opportunity to make more friends on the Internet which will help in learning new things and expanding the horizons of knowledge.
Yet another interesting aspect of this online chess with an unknown player through the medium of Internet provides you with the much-needed privacy which is essential for concentrating on the game. A host of people surrounding you and offering unwanted advice or comments while you play chess with your friend at home or in a park will not be there any more.
One of the very tough things in the game of chess is the time management. However experienced and knowledgeable you may be in the game, if you could not keep pace with the time, then it would not be useful to you. Online chess provides you with an unique opportunity of playing chess with another player or with the computer itself where you can set the time – 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes – so that you can play keeping in mind the time factor. This is a very good benefit as the exercise helps in sharpening one’s assessment skills of the positions, and also quicken the decision-making process. The traits of decision making and sharpening of mind will not help a person play better chess, but also, in the long run, enhance his or her quality of life.
It might not be an exaggeration to say that, just like healthy food keeps you hale and healthy, actively involving yourself in playing chess as frequently as possible helps in invigorating your mind and keeping your mind active and alert at all times.
Chess ratings and tournaments
There are other benefits of online chess as well. The websites which offer a platform to enhance your chess playing skills through online chess, provide you with a rating similar to the one that the International Chess Federation or other suitable governing body offers to players.
A number of online tournaments are organized in most of these online sites which are quite interesting and help the chess player in you to gain considerable exposure and knowledge about the game. There are various types of chess tournaments that can be played online through the medium of Internet. Rapid chess, blitz, speed chess or normal chess tournaments with a cap on the time – all types of chess games and tournaments can be found in online chess and one can benefit immensely and that too, in a relatively shorter period of time, than the traditional forms of learning and gaining experience.
Cheating in online chess
Any discussion on online chess would not be complete without a comment on the fear of cheating associated with online chess. It is but unfortunate that such miscreants do crop up from time to time at various parts of the world whose only intention is create havoc or make some quick bucks here and there. One needs to exercise caution while choosing the website for playing chess online, do not make any payments without knowing the full details of the website and verifying with people familiar with the website. As long as the idea of opting for online chess is to enhance one’s skill set, with little or no monetary investment, then one need not give more importance to things like cheating online in chess. One can use this platform to only improve the skill set and in that count, cheating has a miniscule role The popularity of online chess is evident from the fact that innumerable number of chess sites spring up every other day claiming to provide online chess. By exercising caution and prudence, one can stay away from cheating and also learn the game in a relatively shorter period. Only thing is one needs to find a very good chess site to associate with and benefit from that site.