These days more and more people are coming out as chess masters, no? If not around you then you’re lucky. I am surrounded by a group of people who are obsessed with chess. I on the other hand – never in life played it. I had zero ideas about the game – I didn’t even know the names of the pieces except for the pawns. It made me feel quite stupid, honestly. I tried learning but to no use, because every piece had a significant move – the horse moved in circles with a 2 ½ block move or so while the bishop could move diagonally only … it could move wherever the blocks made a /, \ or X. so, anyway, every little piece had its own move and rule. And there were 6 different pieces to keep in mind only to lose to whoever I played it with.

A friend who had started learning it almost at the same time as I was playing better. While I was still sitting calculating the blocks and piece movements. No offense to blondes but as per the generalized notion, I was a total blonde in this game. Can you believe there is a piece named rook!? I mean what even is a rook, why would you name it to a rook? Rook is like I don’t know the exact words to explain it but it is more of a name but not a position or occupation. While we have a;

  • King
  • Queen
  • Bishops
  • Horses
  • Pawns

And each name makes sense one way or another – why rook? Who is rook? Ugh, let’s just leave it there.

So anyway, with time, things got better. I couldn’t understand the moves until my human sensei(s) were trying to make me understand it by their cognitive reach so I went on to an advanced version of sensei – the internet.

Internet – the best teacher

The thing about the internet is that it has answers to all your questions without any rebuttals to make you feel bad about yourself. While I might have been mocked by my friends or laughed at for the silly questions that rose in my mind – the internet was patient with me and answered it all.

There are many online chess sites – I started playing chess on Lichess.org. The site lets you choose your color or get on spontaneously. It also helps you customize a game as per your comfort zone and play with people all around the world. It is on you whether you want to be anonymous or use your name as a player. They even have tournaments etc to keep people interested on a regular basis. The best thing about it was that whenever you click on a piece – it shows you the allowed movements in the form of dots in particular blocks. I spend days practicing on it only to still lose to my friends on online chess as well. My internet service was a failure in itself and mostly the time used to be up before I could even make a move letting the other person win by default. This was the moment when I figured two things;

  1. I needed a better ISP
  2. I needed to actually learn to play the game

A better learning experience of mine began the moment I called the spectrum number to sign up for their services. The games got longer as I made the moves in time. I also came across the ‘Learn’ section on the site where they teach you all the possible movements a piece could make. They even throw some puzzles at you to help you figure out your moves. By the end of one month’s time, I was able to go into draws and after three months I even beat the best player among my peers – that too on board since my mind was well-prepped this time.

Create or just play along!

Most online platforms let you learn, play puzzles or go for tournaments even, for chess. You can also play a game someone else created or you can create one yourself. You’d get the option to either choose a side or get an anonymous color. You can also add increment minutes or reduce the time limit for the game to be over quickly.

There are many types of moves involved in chess, some famous and some plain risky – some opening moves and some closing. Some of the best ones are;

  • Ruy Lopez
  • The Italian Game
  • The Sicilian Defense
  • The French Defense
  • Caro Kann
  • Queen’s Gambit
  • King’s Indian Defense
  • The Slav Defense
  • The Grunfeld Defense
  • The Nizmo Indian Defense

No, one cannot learn these gambits or chess openings theoretically. However, you can master them if you play it with dedication and especially with your brain. Chess is a game based on strategy and is only won with your brain. Someone who just keeps putting out the pieces without any knowledge or thinking can never win the game. It is a great activity for your brains and helps with amnesia, schizophrenia, and anxiety.

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