There are hundreds of board games out there, but few have survived the test of time like the game of chess. It seems simple enough on the surface. You have two opposing sides on a board advancing against one another to win the game. That’s really not that different than most games, but chess has many things about it that make it unique. Let’s take a look at what qualities have helped chess be a dominant pastime for over 1500 years.
Chess is unique because not only is it one of the most complex board games in the world, it is also one of the oldest and most popular game that has stood the test of time.
In this article, we explore the uniqueness of the game of Chess, also known as the game of Kings.
Simple and Complex At the Same Time
While many people associate chess with being a game for intellectuals, in reality, the game is not that hard to learn. The hardest part is memorizing the legal moves of the various pieces and how they interact with each other on the board. While checkers may seem to be similar, the variations in legal moves of the pieces is what really opens up the possibilities on a chessboard.
The game manages to be both simple and complex at the same time. This is something that most board games cannot claim. It also keeps things interesting. No two games of chess are likely to go exactly the same way.
Refreshingly Not Random
Most board games revolve around some randomness to move the game forward. It may be something like the dice or the cards that you occasionally draw from in Monopoly. Trivia games may have randomness in the categories of the questions.
Chess has no random element to it at all. It is truly a game of logic, and no one is going to win at chess because they simply got lucky. This is pretty unusual in the world of board games, and it is why chess players have such a competitive mindset. While the game is perfectly enjoyable between friends or family members, it is still a contest of wits and is bound to be taken seriously.
Most games crown a winner by some manner of scorekeeping. In chess, there is no score. A player can lose more of his pieces to his opponent and still go on to win the game. This is because the game’s finish is determined by one of the players successfully boxing in the other player’s king. This means the player has no legal move and loses the game.
Chess also features the unusual draw. If the players end up in a configuration where no one can legally box the other player in, a draw can be declared. Once again, this has no bearing on how many chess pieces a player has lost. It revolves totally around the ability of the king to stay on the run for another move.
Few games put so much emphasis on planning ahead and mapping out possible configurations of the board several moves out. The best players are not just looking at the board and reacting in real time. The key to success is being able to see how things might play out several moves in the future.
There is also an element here of knowing your opponent. Whether over many matches or within the ongoing match, chess players start to learn their opponent’s tendencies which helps them to successfully plan ahead to try to manipulate the way the match unfolds. There are few board games that require this kind of methodical calculation on the part of the player.
As you can see, there are many things that separate chess from other board games. Simple on the surface but complex at heart, the game of chess has fascinated people for centuries. In the modern world, we are seeing people pitting their skills against computers as a new way to explore artificial intelligence. This just shows how meticulous the game really is. A computer can perform thousands of calculations in a second, and yet in many cases, humans are still able to come out the victor. We are talking about a game that takes some combination of logic, predicting the moves of the opponent, and being able to make complicated decisions under pressure of a timer.
There is nothing quite like it. Chess is a game all its own, and that’s why it has not only survived the test of time but remained virtually the same game for hundreds of years.