Why Everyone Should Learn How to Play Chess

Adam Rothstein
4 min readApr 30, 2021
Image of chess board

Chess is one of the oldest games in existence. People have likely been playing the game for over 1000 years. Chess helps people concentrate, and it also can help people strategize. Practicing strategy can help you do something simple as help you plan out today to building a master course.

Each player has a set of 16 pieces of either white or black pieces to start the game. The player with the white pieces always goes first. A player can only move knights or pawns to start. The other pieces can move if the pawns and or knights are separated by at least one space. Once that happens, a whole world of opportunity can open up on the chessboard.

The king is the piece that you must defend at all costs. It can only move one space at a time. If the king is checkmated, the game is over. It doesn’t matter how many pieces you have left. The king is check-mated when it can’t move another square and would be eliminated in the move after. This happens if enough pieces are positioned for an attack against the king. For example, if a bishop, queen, and a rook are set up in a way that the king can’t move, and it has to move, the player with that king has lost the game.

The pieces move as follows. The pawns can advance one space forward. Pawns can move two spaces forward if it’s the pawn’s first move. Pawns can also move diagonally, one space if there is an opposing piece in that space. That is also the only way a pawn can take an opponent’s piece. Bishops move diagonally to the color that they start on. For example, if a bishop starts on a dark space, it can only move on dark spaces diagonally. Rooks can move straight, up, down, and across the board, not dependent on the color of the squares. Knights move in the form of an ‘L’ shape. The move of each knight can only consist of 4 spaces. The queen can move anywhere on the board. All other pieces can move, so long as there is no opposing piece in the way. If there is a piece in the way, you can take that piece.

While it is easy to learn chess, the game itself can be difficult to master. Knowing when to move a piece can be the difference between whether you win or lose. For example, if you move a pawn to a square, you can block an attack or accidentally open up an opportunity for your opponent to take your queen.

Games can end with a checkmate, draw, or stalemate. A checkmate involves one player trapping a king so that it can’t move and is taken down in the move after. Draws can occur if there is a stalemate, dead position, mutual agreement, threefold repetition, or a 50-move rule.

A player can ask for a draw when a position is reached (or is about to be reached) at least three times in the same game. This repetition is only possible when all the pieces of the same size and color are occupying identical squares as they were before, and all the possible moves are also the same. As a result, if capturing a certain piece was previously an option that is no longer available, this position is not considered a repetition.

A 50 move rule is if both players make 50 consecutive moves without capturing any pieces or moving any pawns, any player can ask for a draw if it is their turn to play. This rule exists to prevent games from prolonging too much when neither player is making any progress.

A draw by stalemate happens when the player who needs to move has no legal moves, and his king is not in check (otherwise, that would be checkmate). For a stalemate to happen, the move that produced the position must be legal.

Chess may be boring to some people, but it can be exhilarating when it comes down to the wire. This game has been enjoyed by many. If you can learn chess, you can learn strategic thinking. Whether those people are young, old, a nerd, or jock, anyone with motor skills can enjoy the game and enjoy it as a hobby.

How it can help with self-development:

Many people struggle to build themselves up. With chess, you can learn how to plan your next move. That is not just on the board but in real life. Also, when you’ve played enough games, you learn to accept defeat. Accepting failure isn’t a bad thing. Knowing how to lose is important if you want to win in life.

The first games you play will probably not go well if you are going up against someone who has been playing for years. You will most likely lose your first few times around anyway. The one thing you have to keep in mind is that you have to enjoy the process. Having fun while you learn chess, is important if you want to improve your skills. If you aren’t having fun, it will be difficult to increase your skill level.

The game of chess has probably been the most important board game in history. It has brought communities together and built peace between nations. Today, we have lost many elements of a community. Chess can be that game that can make a difference. If chess lovers teach the game and invite new people they can develop ever-lasting friendships that will serve them in the long run.

To whoever is reading this, play a game of chess with someone when you can. If you can’t meet in person, at least play a game with a friend online. There are many downloadable versions where you can play with a friend. Above all, have fun and enjoy the game.