Chess is a very intriguing and powerful game that never fails to arouse interest.
This thought could’ve been more accurate to me as I have one of those “aha” moment saying “ I gotta learn this ” when I just discovered the game.
If that describes you, or you just have that curiosity within then it’s best to know what it is first.
Chess is a two-player-based board game played on a stage known as a chessboard, an 8×8 square-shaped surface made with intermingling tiles of color dark and white, where dark is usually painted with dark green material.
This is played with a set of 6 unique pieces for each player that have their own characteristics and value, which would end when the King (piece) character has entered into a state of unstoppable capture scenario known as Checkmate.
The chessboard can be made of wood, metal, and even plastics that have their varying level of usage, which is usually able to be folded in some way for ease in the carriage.
Other Chess designs aside from the popular Staunton chess set (modern version) also exist as a form of antique collection that has been sold in expensive bundles throughout the world.
How it’s played
The game hosts a total of 32 pieces controlled by two competing players that have 16 of each.
Such is placed in a very specific way (symmetrical), where they get to face each other through various movements that could potentially result in a capture.
The capture (removal of a piece in the game) occurs when a piece can move into a tile where there is a residing opponent piece, such a situation will allow the said piece to initiate a capture.
A capture is a certain move that displaces an opponent piece out of the game, and can only occur when the capture is available for that piece and the player chooses to play it.
Take note that you can only capture the opponent’s pieces and not your own, this means that some of your pieces will actually block others from entering some tiles!
The two player take turns to choose a move they would like to play where the one with white gets to play the turn first.
Each piece has movement options and characteristics not available to the other, where the player can only move one chosen piece in a single turn.
Every piece can only occupy one tile at a time, means a piece sitting on one tile regardless of being an ally or enemy would be blocking every other piece that tries to get to that tile.
There are ways to remove a piece that resides on a tile, either by forcing it to move by threatening a capture on the piece or luring a bait that would make it leave the square, the other one would be exchanging it for other pieces with a capture.
Each piece has their own unique abilities in terms of how they capture.
The player will have to decide whether to use that option during his/her turn while avoiding captures from the opponent’s own pieces.
Most of the time, you would find yourself in situations where you have to give a piece to capture another, this is a trade known as a piece exchange.
How do piece exchanges work
Well you might ask yourself “ why do I have to lose a piece just for another piece if I can get one without losing the other?” and that is a perfectly reasonable thought.
However, if the opponent doesn’t play unreasonable moves, then you will have to lose something in order to gain more for it.
This is where the piece’s value comes in, it is a schema in which different pieces have ascending placements in terms of priorities.
Some pieces naturally can accomplish more than another, or even combination of some in special cases, this means that a player should pursue a total of much higher piece value than that of the opponent’s, this increase the chances of delivering a mating attack (combination that results a checkmate).
This system allows the game to determine a victor even when players make very positional and drawish decisions that would not lead to a decisive result.
Otherwise, if piece count is the only factor to go off than if would increase the possibility of safe plays.
A player can just exchange everything while keeping the same number of piece.
This extra condition means there are more ways to win the game, by trading lower valued pieces for a higher one (which is a likely scenario) a player can achieve enough advantage to convert a victory.
In fact, there are pro games where one player resigns by just being down a pawn, a pawn!
These are games where anything could happen, and although this might be a non-beginner sample, there would definitely be a decrease on drawn games with value variation in place, draws are sooo boring after all.
There is a much bigger in depth analysis when it comes to which piece count in general is better than the other, you might consider searching other resource for that.
What I would say is that positional circumstance play a huge role in determining exchange decisions, even being down the score of piece’s value can sometimes still lead to a victory with correct play.
What’s the purpose?
The purpose of the game is to capture multiple pieces through intelligent exchanges in order to execute a checkmate.
A checkmate is the ultimate goal of all goals, and where other objectives are based from, all efforts are made to achieve a checkmate.
It doesn’t matter how well you’ve done in terms of piece’s count, the player who get checkmated first will be considered defeated regardless of any other factors within the chess board.
A checkmate is when the King has been put into a check (direct threat) with no escape option, that forces a capture next turn no matter what.
Count of captured pieces doesn’t matter as long as the checkmate has been put to effect.
This means that the purpose of chess is a race to see who can get which King first.
The game actually ends in a draw if there are no sufficient pieces that can possibly put the King in a checkmate.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t focus on capturing pieces at all as that would actually be doing the checkmating.
But I’ve seen some players lose so much tempo just to preserve their own pieces while ignoring the King!
They end up losing from checkmate regardless of their advantage, so it’s better to combine both piece count and King’s safety for your terms of play, this would just make you a better player in general.
This is actually the part that gets me excited the most when I’m just a beginner.
I immediately notice the rules that only favor the capture of one piece!
So whenever I play I try my best to launch an attack for that target, which is a style I have for a very long time.
Lots of current players even professionals also adapt this style of play (although there are few of them), and those who do, hook people to chess.
Specially the extreme examples where the play involves heavy sacrifices like that of Mikhail Tal, which produce beautiful games where what’s left are very few pieces and well, a checkmated King!
In conclusion, Chess is a complicated game to get into at first, but I promise it will get easier when you nail the basics.
Things could get really exciting in thrilled tournaments just like watching NBA.
I personally have moments to be like “oooh, he played that?” all it takes is to understand what’s going on and you can enjoy, it would be waste to miss such opportunity otherwise.