zondag 31 augustus 2014

Is Chess A Sport

  • Is chess a sport?

    Chess is not a sport. You are sitting on your butt and moving game pieces, that's not a sport, that's a board game. And honestly, this is why Americans are fat, because people think that chess is a sport. It's like saying that eating ice cream is healthy, just stupid. Really guys, come on. Do you honestly think that chess could be a sport? No way, just get real. America needs to go back to how it was a long time ago where people actually worked and went outside to play, not calling chess a sport. Just wow.
  • Exercising the Muscles.

    Chess exercises the most important muscle, the brain. While we glorify the typical large-muscled athletes in physical sports these chess players, who worked just as hard, are given the short end of the stick. A sport is a activity that competes team or individual against team based on skill, what chess does.
  • Skill Is needed

    Most definitions of the word 'sport' state something along the lines of a sport needing physical prowess or skill. Chess is a game of skill and reactions, and even predicting. At the same time, for something to be considered a sport, it must be done competitively, which chess is always done. Anyone who argues otherwise has probably never played chess or does not understand the concept of a 'sport'

  • Yeah, It Is

    Most consider something a sport based on the idea it must require physical exertion. That's a fairly arbitrary standard, considering each sport requires a different degree and focus of physical strength. Is American football more of a sport than baseball? If not, then chess is as much of a sport as curling (curling has even been called "chess on ice"). Right now, there are five recognized "mind" sports by the International Olympic Committee: go, draughts, poker, bridge, and chess. It seems that since people don't notice the mental torture players go through in chess matches, it can't be a sport. Championships require multiple matches, each requiring an extensive amount of focus. Some people disagree (usually casual players and non-players), but tournaments are exhausting. Chess is truly a sport of endurance. Chess is a wonderful mix of sport, art, and science
  • Chess is more painful then you think

    Americans are the thirtieth dumbest people in the world, because wear tuned to much in football, and baseball, and more, because its fun, but chess is fun and gets you straight a's and russians are beating us in this sport, so we need to focus on chess. Its time to show the russians that we americans are number one
  • Chess is a sport but not an athletic one.

    Several Norwegian newspapers have debated this but the truth was decided by the Olympic committee who dignify it as a sport. The Norwegian newspapers also dignify it as a sport because the definition of a sport complies with chess but the definition of athletic is completely different. In conclusion chess can be dignified as a sport but it cannot be dignified as an athletic sport.
  • Sport! Sport! Sport!

    Definition of sport: 'an activity involving exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.'
    Competitive players play for hours and hours of continuous skill demanding, exhausting, tactical chess. Maybe a 10 min game at home is different, but the professionals are sportsmen!
  • Yes it's a sport

    Chess involves competing against a single or multiple individuals. Yes it's a board game but can be done on an official competitive level. It involves critical thinking, math, and problem solving. Many people are confused when they think sports MUST be physical, that's not true. Yes the majority of your typical sports usually involve physical activity. Nobody is denying that. I have found that most people who think chess is just a board game have never touched a chess piece in their life. Source: Two time state championship competitor.

  • It requires considerable amount of energy.

    It is a very well-known fact that every professional chess player must train on a daily basis. That ise very similar to other branches of sport, as to say, athletics. Apart from this, chess has its own rules, scoring methods, special equipment and various types of tournaments. It is much more than a simple game.
  • Offense vs. Defence

    Chess is considered a sport, a sport is anything that has an offensive side versus a defensive side. This is why cheer-leading and dancing are considered arts, not sports. It must also exercise physical or mental skill, chess definitely exerts mental skill. It must be judged and have rules, it has both of these, as well as it must be played by rules, obviously there are rules. So yes, chess is a sport by definition.
  • Chess? Sport? No

    What is a sport in your opinion ladies and gentlemen? Well it is a way of physical excretion to keep your body fit and healthy! So what do you do in chess? Sit all day and try to win. Well, yes it does exercise your mind, improving your logic skills but of course not your body. Thus, I don't find chess a 'sport'.
  • Chess is NOT A SPORT

    The reason I have decided to make chess not a sport is there is no physical movement involved. To make an activity a sport, there must be some physical actions involved. Football is a sport. Tennis is a sport. However, chess is not. Video games are not. This is why chess is not a sport.
  • Too little physical activity.

    My Merriam-Webster dictionary defines sport as 1: a source of diversion; 2: physical activity engaged in for pleasure. Chess meets case 1, but not case 2, except perhaps for tournament situations where a chess master plays a large number of people at the same time (and may have to run between tables to keep the clocks from running).

  • No it's not

    It's a great game for the mind and logical but not a sport it's not physical and it requires just moving a game piece.In Basketball it's physical and Competitive it makes the body more fit and heathly.Chess is competitive but not Physical and it doesn't make the body fit but it helps the brain create mroe soloutions in certain situations.So in Conclusion chess is not a sport.
  • A Board Game

    Chess is a board game. Granted, it is skill-based, it's not a game of sheer chance like Chutes and Ladders, Mouse Trap, or Candy Land, but it is still a bored game. The players sit sedentary and move pieces around on a Checker board. Checkers is also a skill-based board game. If one wants to claim Chess is a sport, it would logically follow he must claim Checkers as a sport as well, and no one seems willing to do that. It's ridiculous.

  • It said in the story

    You don't run like in soccer football or baseball tennis basketball a marathon out. Second what do you even do its not like you exercise or any thing like that. Third what do do pretty much nothing you just sit down and move pawns kings queens and knights. Clearly chess is not a sport OK.

  • Chess is a Game http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Chess.html

    Chess is a two-player board game believed to have been played in India as early as the sixth century AD. In different parts of this world, different chess games are played. The most played variants are western chess, Shogi (in Japan), and Xiangqi (in China).

    The western version of chess is a game played on an board, called a chessboard, of alternating black and white squares. Pieces with different types of allowed moves are placed on the board, a set of black pieces in the first two rows and a set of white pieces in the last two rows. The pieces are called the bishop (2), king (1), knight (2), pawn (8), queen (1), and rook (2). The object of the game is to capture the opponent's king.
  • No way it's a sport!

    The legal definition of a sport is "an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.". Chess is not something that requires any physical or athletic activity whatsoever. People are just trying to make themselves feel better by saying chess is a sport. If your not active, it's not a sport.

  • No physical properties

    The definition of sport is: 'an activity involving physical exertion and skill which individuals or teams play another or others,' quoted from Google. How many people sweat, tear muscles or go to their physical limits playing chess? Chess is a board game not a sport. It is something that you play on a rainy day.

  • No Physical Exertion

    Sport is an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others, an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature. Without the physical exertion, it is a game, a GOOD game, but nevertheless a game - period!


The making of Chess

Chess is a classic two person board game. It is played with specially designed pieces on a square board made up of 64 alternating light and dark squares arranged in eight rows and columns. First appearing around A.D. 600, the game steadily evolved into the modern game known today. The earliest methods of production involved carving the board and pieces out of wood or stone. Today, a variety of common modern manufacturing methods such as injection molding and lithographic printing are employed to mass produce thousands of games.
The objective of the modern chess game is to force the opponent's most important piece, the king, into checkmate. This is a position in which the king cannot be moved to avoid capture. The player with the white pieces begins the game by moving a piece to another square following the rules that govern piece movement. The players alternate moves until one player is either checkmated, resigns, or there is a draw. Thousands of books have been published relating to the strategies during the three key stages of chess, including the opening, the middle game, and the end game.


While the exact time and place of chess's origin is debated, most scholars believe it was developed sometime around the sixth century A.D. It is a descendant of a game called chaturanga, which was commonly played in India during that time. (Chaturanga is derived from a much older Chinese game.) The name chaturanga is a Sanskrit word that refers to the four divisions of the Indian army, including elephants, chariots, cavalry, and infantry. These pieces became the basis for the four types of pieces in the game. Two of the key similarities between chess and chaturanga is that different pieces have different powers and victory is based on what happens to the king.
During subsequent years, chaturanga spread throughout the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. Chaturanga was introduced to China around A.D. 750 and then to Korea and Japan by the eleventh century. In each of these places, it took on different characteristics. For example, Chinese chess has nine files and 10 ranks. It also has a boundary between the fifth and sixth ranks, which makes it a slower game than the Western version. In Persia, the game was called shtranj and it was in this form that it was introduced to Western Europe when the Moors invaded Spain. By the tenth century, the game was commonly played throughout Europe and Russia..
Shtranj caught the interest of philosophers, kings, poets, and other nobility, and eventually became known as the "royal game." The best players wrote down the moves of each of their games. This practice eventually led to the development of puzzles in which the solver had to find solutions, like finding checkmate in a specific number of moves. During the fifteenth century some significant rule changes were made. For example, castling was introduced, as was the initial two-square pawn advance. One of the most important changes was the transformation of the counselor piece into the queen, the strongest chess piece. These improvements helped make the game popular throughout Europe. Some of the best players during this time—Ruy Lopez and Damiano—put together chess instruction books       

Chess pieces and a chessboard set up.
that also helped to make the game more widely accepted.

The rules and piece design steadily evolved, reaching the current standard during the early nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, chess experienced a tremendous growth in interest resulting in the development of various chess organizations and the crowning of a world champion. The first computer chess program was introduced in 1960. Steady improvements in technologies and algorithms led to the 1996 defeat of the world champion, Garry Kasparov, by a computer called Deep Blue.


Historically, the game's pieces have been both simple and highly decorated. Prior to A.D. 600, the pieces were plain. These were replaced by detailed sets depicting royalty, warriors, and animals. From the ninth to the twelfth centuries, Islamic rules prohibiting the depiction of living creatures resulted in basic pieces made from clay or stone. This change is actually thought to have increased interest in the game at the time because it made sets more widely available and was less distracting to the players. When the game spread to Europe and Russia, highly ornate sets were fashionable.
The standard set for modern chess pieces was introduced by Nathaniel Cook in 1835. His set was patented in 1849 and endorsed by the leading player of the day, Howard Staunton. Staunton's promotion of the set as the standard led to it being known as the Staunton pattern. Today, only Staunton sets are allowed in official international competitions.
A typical chess set has 32 pieces. These are broken down into two sets of 16 pieces each. In each set there are eight pawns, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, one queen, and one king. The different pieces are distinguished by their appearance. The designs vary from simple plastic shapes to intricate, hand-carved statues. While piece size varies depending on the specific set, the tallest piece is typically the king, followed closely in height by the queen. The shortest, least notable pieces are the pawns. The rook has varied considerably over the years, being represented as a ship, castle turret, or a warrior in a chariot.
The chess board is square and made up of 64 alternating light and dark squares arranged in eight rows and columns. The vertical columns extending from one player to the other are known as files. The opposite rows are called ranks.
An important aspect of large scale chess piece manufacture is the process of designing the mold. A mold is a cavity machined from steel. When liquid plastic or molten metal is injected into the mold, it takes on the inverse of the mold's shape when it cools. This results in a finished piece. The mold cavity is highly polished because any flaw can result in a flawed final piece. For making chess game pieces, a two part mold can be used. To make the piece, the two mold sections are joined together and injected with the base raw material. The mold is then opened and the piece drops out. Special release agents and a tapered design help make the parts easier to remove. When molds are designed they are made slightly larger to compensate for the fact that plastic shrinks while it cools.

Raw Materials

Chess sets have been made with a number of raw materials over the years. Materials as diverse as ivory, glass, wood, clay, pewter, stone, and various metals have been used. Today, the most widely available chess sets are made of plastic. Plastic is a mixture of high molecular weight polymers and various fillers. For a plastic to be suitable in chess-piece manufacture it must be easily colored and heat stable, and have good impact strength. The most often used plastics are thennoset plastics such as polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA).
Polymers found in plastics are typically colorless, so colorants are added to make the chess pieces look more appealing. Colorants include soluble dyes or comminuted pigments. Titanium dioxide can be used for white colored pieces. For more ornamental sets, other inorganic materials such as iron oxides can be used to produce yellow, red, black, brown, and tan pieces.
Various filler materials are added to the plastics to produce durable, high quality pieces. For manufacturing ease, plasticizers are often added to the plastic. Plasticizers are nonvolatile solvents that increase the flexibility of the polymer. To improve the overall properties of the plastic, reinforcement materials such as fiberglass may be added. Other additives include ultraviolet (UV) protectors, heat stabilizers, antioxidants, and manufacturing aids.

The Manufacturing Process

The basic steps involved in the creation of a chess game include creating the mold for the pieces, producing the pieces, producing the board, and final assembly. The following manufacturing procedure represents a method that mass producers of the game might use. Some shops still make their sets by hand, a time consuming process that involves carving the pieces from the raw material.

Making the pieces

  • 1 In the earliest phase of manufacture, designs for the chess set pieces are drawn out on a board and used as a guide in making the molds. Pieces are then handmade, typically starting by making the general outline of the piece with a wire frame. Clay is then molded around the frame and shaped to look exactly like the desired piece.
  • 2 When the clay model hardens, a plaster mold of it is produced. From this mold, a steel die (or mold) is then machined, which will allow the exact duplication of the clay model. In some cases, a set of steel molds are connected together so that the whole set of chess pieces can be made in a single injection molding step.
  • 3 With the steel molds made, plastic pellets are transformed into chess game pieces using injection molding. In this process, pellets are put into a hopper connected to the injection molding machine. They are forced through a high-pressure screw and melted. The screw is turned, forcing the melted plastic through a nozzle and into the mold. Just before the plastic is injected, the two halves of the mold are brought together to form the shape of the chess piece. Inside the mold, the plastic is held under pressure for a set amount of time and then allowed to cool. As it cools, the plastic hardens, the mold is opened, and the chess game piece is ejected. The mold then closes again and the process begins again.

Making the board

  • 4 The construction of the board depends on the starting raw material. Wood and stone sets are cut or carved to specifications. For mass produced sets, the main raw material for the board is cardboard. The cardboard is first cut in a square to the exact dimensions desired, and then it is printed. The printing process involves a printing press fitted with plates. When the press is turned on, the plate passes under a roller and gets coated with water. An ink roller is passed over the plate and ink attaches to the plate in specific printable spots.
  • 5 Ink is transferred from the plate to a rubber roller. The rubber roller is passed over the cardboard, which causes a transfer of ink. The cardboard is then passed to the next roller assembly where the next color is added by a similar process. The ink is specially formulated so that it dries before it enters the next roller assembly. This process of wetting, inking, and printing allows for continuous manufacture of printed chess boards. After all the printing is done, a special clear polymer coating may be applied to protect it and give it a glossy look.

Final assembly

  • 6 To finish production of a game set, all the different components are brought to the packaging area. The exact package depends on the final design, however, in most cases the pieces are put into a box along with the board. During this stage, instruction sheets or other booklets are also put in the box. It is then taken by conveyor to a shrink-wrapping machine..
  • 7 On the shrink-wrap machine, the box is loosely wrapped in a thin plastic film. It is then passed through a heating device that shrinks the film and wraps the box tightly. The boxes are then put into cases and stacked on pallets. They are transferred to trucks that deliver them to local sales outlets.

Quality Control

The quality of the chess game parts are checked during each phase of manufacture. Line inspectors check the plastic parts to ensure they meet size, shape, and consistency specifications. The primary test method is typically visual inspection. When a damaged plastic part is found, it is set aside to be melted again and reformed into a new chess game piece.

The Future

The future of chess sets is likely to involve the improvement of computerized chess sets. Currently, many manufacturers produce single person, computerized games that allow the player to compete against a computer. In the years to come, these computer chess games are likely to become more sophisticated, challenging even the best players in the world. In addition to the current game, variations have been developed. Future chess sets may involve multiple levels in which pieces will be able to attack not only forward and backward, but also up and down. New board shapes have already been introduced making it possible for up to four players to be involved in a game at once.

Constructing Chess Pieces

Turning a chess piece

The manufacture of chess pieces requires a high level of skill and precision. Mass produced plastic chess sets are injection moulded which lends itself well to producing 1000s of cheap, yet perfectly functional chess sets. Wooden chess pieces however must be individually turned and carefully fashioned by hand.
Chess pieces begin life as shapeless blocks of hardwood. It’s important that a high grade of solid hardwood is used, any voids or knots will render the chess piece a reject (or at least it should do). Typical woods for chess piece production include boxwood, ebony, rosewood, and sandalwood. Some very expensive chess sets contain extreme amounts of detail, the knights displaying strands of hair and detailed teeth. It is therefore essential to use a dense, consistent wood that is solid enough to be carved to this level of detail and remain strong enough during use.
Amateur wood turners will sometimes attempt to turn their own chess pieces, often will ill fated and inconsistent results. The professional method of chess pieces turning involves a metal blade that is essentially a reverse blank of a chess piece. In fact the finished chess piece should fit into the pattern of the blank perfectly. This metal blade must be extremely sharp & hard. It must be able to cut through dense hardwood while avoiding splinters.
Using this method allows a skilled wood turner to create uniform chessmen at quite a pace. The resulting chess pieces are now perfectly formed and ready for polishing and weighting.

Weighting chess pieces

In the days gone by most high quality chess pieces were weighted with lead. The chess piece was hollowed out and molten lead poured inside. The unsightly base area was then covered with a leather or felt pad. This resulted in extremely heavy chess pieces, just what most chess players desire.
These days the use of lead in products, especially those that might come into contact with children is frowned upon, indeed many developed countries have banned the import of lead products. The result is that most modern chess men are weighted with short stubby pieces of steel or iron.

Finishing touches

Checking the final product

High quality chess pieces usually have a smooth and shiny surface. An initial glance often leads people to believe that a form of lacquer is applied in order to achieve this finish. Indeed some chess pieces are lacquered, usually in colours such as red, white or black. The most traditional finish however is a natural wood finish that is polished to a high shine.
The detail, fine lines and intricate carvings of some chess pieces would be subdued by the process of applying lacquer to achieve a uniform shine. Therefore the best method is wax polishing. This process involves a motorised polishing wheel that spins at high revs. The rough chess pieces are held up against the polishing wheel until the grain has been polished super smooth.
A very hard wax is applied to the spinning polishing wheel, the heat from the friction melts tiny amount of the wax that become embedded in the fibres of the wheel. This wax then transfers itself to the surface of the chess piece and becomes part of the surface of the chess piece. In it’s pure form the wax seems as hard as glass, only when it gets hot does it soften enough to become part of the polishing process.
The result of this process is a beautifully finished chess piece, shiny yet not too glossy and still full of detail and precision.

Piece by Piece

The Pawn

The pawn is usually the smallest of the chessmen, in fact sets where the pawns are larger than the other chessmen are extremely rare. Certainly in all the Staunton chess sets the pawns are the smallest and thus reflect their power within the actual game of chess. The classic Staunton pawn follows a set design whereby a round ball sits upon a pedestal. Chess set manufacturers will aspire to creating pawns with near perfect round balls on the top, a flattened top, or highly non spherical pawn doesn't look good. Those with the roundest balls are best.

The Rook

The rook takes on the depiction of a castle turret. Due to its significance in the game of chess it's not unusual to see slightly disproportionately large rooks within a set, although by tradition they should be just one up from the pawns in terms of size. Despite it's simple round castle shape rooks can take on enormous detail shown in the precision of their angles and turning. A perfectly made rook is extremely satisfying, simplicity made perfect!

The Bishop

It's often said that bishop wears a hat, in real life Bishops certainly do so why not in chess? The bishop would essentially be a fairly plain piece if it were not for the slot cut in the hat. The angled slot can range from a basic cut on cheap sets, through to a stunning bevelled carving on luxury sets. We are of course talking about Staunton bishops here.

The Knight

Chess playing aside, the knights are without doubt the most significant pieces in a chess set. People have bought whole chess sets simply because of the knights. Even the most ornate and obscure chess sets tend to depict a horses head for this piece, but the Staunton chessmen got it right. The original design has inspired thousands of variations of the Knight, often seen as the piece with the most scope for creativity and complexity of carving. On seriously expensive luxury chess sets it's not unusual to see knights with flowing hair, teeth and gums, pupils in their eyes and a very specific facial expression. What is more amazing is how this amazing artistic carving is duplicated four times for one set with each of the knights looking completely identical.

The Queen

The queen is usually the second tallest of the pieces and takes on a sleek elegant appearance. In most chess set designs she wears a crown. The Staunton design typifies this and keeps the piece feminine while retaining a sense of authority. Expect to see most expensive luxury sets of chessmen come with not two, but four queens in the set.

The King

Last but certainly not least is the king. The tallest of the chessmen and certainly the most majestic. Often seen by collectors and enthusiasts as the most beautiful of the pieces. A king has elegant curves and a distinctive shape, it's iconic profile is as legendary as a coca cola bottle. The top of the king is decorated with a cross like piece called a phinnial. Traditionally in the shape of cross this piece is usually carved separately from the rest of the piece and in the case of very luxury sets can be very intricately carved and polished.

Improve your chess

Every chess player is constantly looking to improve their game, and there's plenty of debate on the best way to get better. Some players try to play as many games as possible, others solve countless tactical puzzles, and many study theory until they know their favorite openings inside and out.
Of course, there's no one improvement method that's best for everyone. However, the five activities in this article are ones that players, coaches and trainers have found to be effective methods for most players, and they should make up the core of any training you do to improve your chess.
Chess Set - Dan Zen/Flickr

1. Play More Chess


This one may seem obvious, but many players forget that experience is an important and necessary part of chess improvement. Playing is what allows you to put the knowledge gained during study into practice, and work on solving practical problems during games without the aid of the prompts given in puzzle books.
Some games are more valuable for improving your chess than others. Long games -- games where each player has an hour or more of thinking time -- allow time for seriously analyzing positions and practicing time management. Blitz games are useful for quickly learning openings or improving your chess intuition. For training purposes, long games are best, but keep in mind that blitz games can be learning experiences too.

2. Study Annotated Master Games  
Playing over the games of masters is a great way to improve your chess. These games show how strong players use their pieces, formulate plans, and execute endgames.
There are numerous game collections out there with annotated games you can play through. You might pick a collection of games played (and perhaps even annotated) by one of your favorite players. Alternately, there are tournament books that analyze all of the games from a given event, such as New York 1924 or St. Petersburg 1909. For beginners, something with more complete annotations, such as Irving Chernev's Logical Chess Move By Move: Every Move Explained might be best.

3. Review Your Own Games


While learning from the games of others is helpful, nothing beats learning from your own mistakes. Reviewing your own games is a crucial step in chess improvement, as it allows you to critically examine your strengths and weaknesses and figure out where your biggest mistakes occur. Make it a habit to record the moves whenever you play so that you can review the game later.
It is best to have a stronger player analyze your games with you. A stronger player will inevitably see things you missed, and can provide helpful feedback on where you need improvement. Computer chess programs can also analyze your games, and are great for pointing out tactical mistakes, but can't give the "human" feedback that a stronger player can.


4. Tactics, Tactics, Tactics


Tactics decide the result of most chess games, especially for beginning and improving players. Firming up these skills will allow you to pick off inadequately defended pieces or find surprising checkmates against unsuspecting opponents -- and more importantly, learning these patterns will help you defend against tactical threats during games.
There are many books that have collections of tactical problems. Even better, interactive software programs such as Chess Tactics Art allow you to play through problems and get instant feedback without having to set up positions on a board. One free option is the Chess Tactics Server, an online tactics trainer that can guide you towards problems of an appropriate difficulty level.

5. Private Chess Lessons


Having your own personal chess trainer can be a rewarding experience. Someone who works with you over a period of time will get a good feel for your game, and can craft lessons tailored to your needs. To find a suitable teacher, you may want to ask other local players, particularly those who play in clubs and tournaments, if they can recommend a good teacher.
Keep in mind that the strongest players tend to give the most expensive lessons, but you may benefit just as much from a somewhat weaker (but still strong) player without paying a premium rate. Also, online lessons are often available on chess servers for much lower rates. It's not quite the same as meeting with a teacher in person, but confers many of the same benefits.

6. Too much play

 Playing chess - practice - is very important for improvement. When you play chess (over the board, at tournaments), you put into practice what you have learned, you use your brain to think chess, you are in the testing environment, you test your accumulated knowledge and skill against another person.
However, too much play and too little study holds you back. You can repeat the same mistakes over and over. You will tend to follow your own old patterns and not have time to develop a different, correct thinking process, and to learn proper strategy and new ideas.
In this case, you should take a long break from playing and concentrate only on study for several months. You will make a significant improvement.

7. Incomplete knowledge

 It's so simple: an incomplete study of theory leaves you with weaknesses and a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
There is no shortcut; a necessary task for serious improvement is to have COMPLETE knowledge of chess theory, of chess strategy. Then, you will know what TO DO in any situation on the chess board. It makes no sense to re-invent the wheel when there are full blueprints available.

8. Too much training

 The idea is to optimize your time for study.
Too much information on the same subject becomes superfluous.
Too many exercises of the same kind will only hold you back.
Too much theory without enough exercises or too many exercises without essential theory is also counterproductive.
Too much of anything may hold back your creativity and diminish your joy for the game.
You do not need Quantity but Quality! Save yourself time and study and train only with the best materials, not with ALL materials.

9. Disorganized study

 Disorganized study habits are another reason for stagnation for even the most serious learners.
Many lose a lot of time trying different methods, studying different materials - even if the individual lesson are good, the results of a piecemeal approach can be disappointing.
Acquiring the right blend of chess knowledge is a delicate balance and therefore you should make a good plan from the start or follow a professional program of study and training.

10. Quality of the lessons/books

 What exactly a chess lesson teaches you makes a very big difference. Here, we have to give a concrete example.
Let's say you have two different lessons about the isolated pawn. The first lesson tells you that the isolated pawn is weak in the endgame and then fills the space with "illustrative" games. The second lesson systematizes the possible endgames into 10 possible types, tells you exactly which is a draw and which is winning, tells you how to defend and how to attack for each case, tells you exactly what to do in every situation.
Obviously the difference is enormous; the first lesson leaves you in semi-obscurity and you are left with the impression that the endgames are lost for the side with the isolated pawn, which is far from true. The second lesson really and concretely teaches you that subject so you will know what you have to do in every situation and what endgames to aim for, so that you can get the maximum from the position, win or draw.
As a conclusion: the substance of the lessons, that is, their concreteness, what and how they teach, and how structured they are, all make a big difference.

11. Passive learning

 It might be enjoyable to browse through books, listen to videos, click through chess programs or talk in chess forums.
But if you want to obtain the best possible results, you need to learn ACTIVELY.
What is Active Learning? When you study a chess lesson, you have to WORK on it, you have to ask yourself questions all the time; when you study an annotated game, you should stop at almost every move to try to understand them or even find better moves. You should also try to guess the moves before looking at them.
This way you will take time to digest every position, every piece of information so you WILL enjoy your study much more. And as we said before, you need Quality and not Quantity.

12. Exercises

 There are 2 kinds of exercises:
1. tactical exercises, (combinations) and
2. positional exercises (strategic problems).

Everybody knows what the tactical exercises are - solving tactical exercises helps you develop your tactical force, but this is only a part of a complete training program.
Positional exercises are less recognized for their importance. However, these are even more important than the first!
Positional exercises may be chosen from any stage of the game, but are most often from the middlegame. They are usually normal positions, where there is no tactical blow, trick, or anything to make you say "wow". This is “normal” chess, the 95% of the game where we employ strategy. That is, we use logical thinking, create plans, stop opponent's plans, re-arrange our pieces, provoke weaknesses, prepare an attack, defend etc...etc... - this is chess strategy.
And theory is not enough. We must train for chess strategy and solve POSITIONAL EXERCISES - this will train us for the game. Complete training means 50% theory and 50% individual work = exercise!
All good chess schools test their students all the time. After the lesson, the student has to solve strategic positions, find the plans/ideas, tell what they have TO DO in that position, and eventually find the first moves.
This is what we do in our core chess courses, Grandmaster Package, which is structured as 50% theory and 50% positional exercises. In the last 4 months of the course, we give a wide range of instructive, well-selected positions. Then we offer extensive analysis of the position and explain how the solution could be found.
Remember: positional exercises are completely different than tactical exercises and by no means less important.

13. The computer

 Chess is a beautiful old game, played on the board. If you want to improve at chess, you must train using the real board and not the computer! We trust that this sounds logical enough to you.
It is indeed convenient to use the computer, you do not have to re-arrange the pieces all the time and it is ...modern. But when you prepare for chess, the technology, colors, design and so on do not help that much. They may even harm your progress.
Moreover, when you do play chess over the board, you will come to realize that the positions look different than on the 2 dimensions of your screen.
All world champions, top-grandmasters and strong players have studied chess at the board. Only after reaching mastery in chess, the use of computers is indeed helpful in the opening preparation for strong competitions.
Using chess software, chess engines, watching videos, could have benefits if it is done moderately, but all these bring little progress. Even at our online chess school, we offer all the lessons in PDF format so that they can be conveniently printed out and studied at the board.

14. Rating, rating, rating

 The continuous pursuit of rating is counterproductive - the beauty of chess will be left behind in the desire for a certain rating or category.
The rating is less important and may not always reflect the real value of a player. Maybe he only needs to play more tournaments or maybe he needs a better opening which suits his style of play.
A player who wants to improve should concentrate only on understanding chess better and more deeply. At those moments when he wants to study a good lesson or an instructive game, to solve different positions, to understand strategic subtleties and to find excellent moves ...at THAT moment there is progress... and the rating will surely increase sooner or later.

15. Chess is hard

 No, chess is NOT hard. Thinking that "chess is hard" is however a reason for stagnation.
Chess is complex, indeed, but it is this complexity that makes it beautiful.
You have to think positively. Look at the beauty of this game, at the pleasure such a nice hobby brings, to the fact that it develops our thinking. Appreciate that we have a great intellectual game that helps our brain, and is a nice social game, a game where we use our ideas against other humans' ideas. And do not forget: the more you understand it, the more enjoyable it is.

Improve your Chess - Guaranteed!

Practical chess endgames

The endgame is perhaps the most mysterious part of chess. It’s richness and finesses are often hidden and waiting to be discovered. In the following video’s you will be invited to enlarge your understanding of chess endgames.

Click here to see part 1

Click here to see part 2

Click here to see part 3

Click here to see part 4

Click here to see part 5

Click here to see part 6

Click here to see part 7

Click here to see part 8

Click here to see part 9

Click here to see part 10

Click here to see part 11

Click here to see part 12

Click here to see part 13


zaterdag 30 augustus 2014

Chess Rules

History of Chess

The origins of chess are not exactly clear, though most believe it evolved from earlier chess-like games played in India almost two thousand years ago. The game of chess we know today has been around for more than 500 years!

The Goal of Chess

You and your opponent are each in charge of an army. Your goal: to catch the other army's king (before they catch yours)! When you have him attacked and he can no longer escape, it's called "checkmate," and you win!
You each start with a trusty army of 16: the King, Queen, two Rooks, two Bishops, two Knights, and eight Pawns.

Starting a Game

At the beginning of the game the chessboard is laid out so that each player has the white (or light) color square in the bottom right-hand side. The chess pieces are then arranged the same way each time. The second row (or rank) is filled with pawns. The rooks go in the corners, then the knights next to them, followed by the bishops, and finally the queen, who always goes on her own matching color (white queen on white, black queen on black), and the king on the remaining square.
The player with the white pieces always moves first, so it's only fair to take turns playing white and black. On each turn you get to move one of your pieces (except for one special move). Then it's your opponent's turn. And back and forth, you take turns until one of the kings is cornered... or your whole army is tired out!

How the Chess Pieces Move

Each of the 6 different kinds of pieces has its own shape for moving. Most pieces cannot move through other pieces-- only the knight can jump over anyone who gets in his way! Also no piece can ever move onto a square with one of their own pieces. However, they can be moved to take the place of an opponent's piece: that's how you capture the enemies!

The King

The king is the most important piece, since losing him means the end of the game. But he is also one of the weakest. So very often he needs his friends to protect him. The king can move one square in any direction - up, down, to the sides, and diagonally.

The king may never move himself onto a square where he could be captured (no losing on purpose). If your opponent ever moves their king onto a square where you can take it, don't grab the king and laugh "hahahaha, I win!" Instead, you should explain why they can't move there. Then your opponent can put the king back where it was, and choose a different move.

Check and Checkmate

When another piece threatens to capture the king, it is called 'check.' When there is no way for the king to escape check, it is called 'checkmate.' As stated before, that is how you win. There are only three ways a king can get out of check: move out of the way, block the check with another piece, or capture the piece threatening the king. If a king cannot escape checkmate then the game is over. Customarily the king is not captured or removed from the board, the game is simply declared over.

The Queen

The queen is the most powerful piece. Like the king, she can move in any one straight direction - forward, backward, sideways, or diagonally - but unlike him, she's very speedy. In fact, she can move as far as you like as long as she does not move through any other pieces. And, like with all pieces, if the queen captures an opponent's piece, that's the square she stops on.


The Rook

The rook moves much like the queen: as far as it wants along straight lines, but only forward, backward, and to the sides (not diagonally).


The Bishop

The bishop is the "other half" of the queen. It moves as far as it wants, but only diagonally. You start with one bishop on a light square and one bishop on a dark square, and you will notice, only moving on diagonals, each one is stuck on the color it starts on. Bishops work well together because each covers the squares the other one can't.


The Knight

Knights move in a very different way from the other pieces - going two squares in one direction, and then one more move at a 90 degree angle, just like the shape of an "L". Knights are also the only pieces that can move over other pieces. People often say knights "hop" because of that special ability. Check out these knight hops:


The Pawn

Half of your starting team is pawns, so it's very important to understand how to use these little guys, even though they are not very strong. Pawns are unusual because they move in one way, but capture in a different way. When they move, they just go forward, but when they capture they go diagonally. Pawns can only move forward one square at a time, except for their very first move where they can move forward two squares or one. Pawns can only capture one square diagonally in front of them. They can never move or capture backwards.

Because they move and capture differently, the pawn is the only piece that can get blocked by enemy pieces: if there is another piece directly in front of a pawn he cannot move past or capture that piece.


Now pawns may be small and weak, moving slowly and having trouble fighting against the faster guys on the board. But pawns still have big dreams! They want to be the hero who rules the chessboard and brings you victory. And pawns have one more special ability that can help make their dreams come true.
If a pawn reaches the other side of the board it can become any other chess piece (called promotion), except a pawn or king. [NOTE: A common misconception is that pawns may only be exchanged for a piece that has been captured. That is NOT true.] A pawn is usually promoted to a queen, because she is the most powerful piece. Only pawns may be promoted; no other piece can do this!


One other special rule is called castling, the only time you can move two pieces in one move. This combination move allows you to do two important things all in one turn: get your king to safety (hopefully), and get your rook out of the corner and into the game. On a player's turn he may move his king two squares over to one side and then move the rook to the other side of his king. (See the example below.) In order to castle, however, the following conditions must be met:
  • it must be that king's very first move
  • it must be that rook's very first move
  • there cannot be any pieces between the king and rook
  • the king may not be in check or move through check
Notice that when you castle one direction the king is closer to the side of the board. That is called kingside. Castling to the other side, through where the queen sat, is called castling queenside. Regardless of which side, the king always moves exactly two squares when castling.


Occasionally chess games do not end with a winner, but with a draw. There are 5 reasons why a chess game may end in a draw:
  1. The position reaches a stalemate where it is one player's turn to move, but his king is NOT in check and yet he does not have another legal move
  2. The players may simply agree to a draw and stop playing
  3. There are not enough pieces on the board to force a checkmate (example: a king and a bishop vs. a king). Draw by exhaustion!
  4. A player declares a draw if the same exact position is repeated three times (though not necessarily three times in a row)
  5. Fifty moves in a row have been played by each player, without anyone moving a pawn or capturing a piece. This means no progress is being made!
If you've made it this far, you are ready to play! After this come extra rules for tournaments, variants, and some first advice for how to play chess well.


Chess960 (also called Fischer Random) is a chess variant that follows all of the normal rules of chess, except that the starting position of the pieces is randomly chosen at the start of each game. There are two rules for placing the pieces: the bishops must be on opposite colors, and there must be one rook on each side of the king. The black and white pieces are in a mirrored position. There are exactly 960 possible starting scenarios that follow these rules (thus the name "960"). The only odd rule is with castling: the rules are mostly the same (king and rook cannot have moved and cannot castle through check or in check), with the additional rule that the squares between where the king and castled rook will end up must be vacant from all pieces except the king and rook. And instead of moving exactly 2 steps towards your rook, you always castle so that it looks like in normal chess: King goes to g1 when you castle "kingside" and to c1 when you castle "queenside." For more info and examples, click here.

Some Tournament Rules

Many tournaments follow a set of common, similar rules. These rules do not necessarily apply to play at home or online.
If a player touches one of their own pieces they must move that piece as long as it is a legal move. (of course you can't "touch" a piece online, so this is a tournament rule which does not matter on our website). If a player touches an opponent's piece, they must capture that piece. A player who wishes to touch a piece only to adjust it on the board must first announce what they are doing, usually by saying "adjust."
Introduction to Clocks and Timers
Most tournaments use timers to regulate the time spent on each game, not on each move. That's because when they first started having chess tournaments in the 1800s, some guys would just sit there and not move if they were in a losing position. This perfect strategy kept them from ever losing... and the tournament from ever finishing! Then they invented the chess clock, and it became normal at most tournaments.
Each player gets the same amount of time to use for their entire game and can decide how to spend that time. Once a player makes a move they then touch a button or hit a lever to stop their clock from running and start the opponent's clock. If a player runs out of time and the opponent calls the time, then the player who ran out of time loses the game (unless the opponent does not have enough pieces to checkmate, in which case it is a draw). Click here to watch two players quickly playing a timed game of chess!

Basic Strategy

There are four simple things that every chess player should know:
#1 Protect your king
Get your king to the corner of the board where he is usually safer. Don't put off castling. You should usually castle as quickly as possible. Remember, it doesn't matter how close you are to checkmating your opponent if your own king is checkmated first!
#2 Don't give pieces away
Don't carelessly lose your pieces! Each piece is valuable and you can't win a game without pieces to checkmate. There is an easy system that most players use to keep track of the relative value of each chess piece:
  • A pawn is worth 1
  • A knight is worth 3
  • A bishop is worth 3
  • A rook is worth 5
  • A queen is worth 9
  • The king is infinitely valuable
At the end of the game these points don't mean anything - it is simply a system you can use to make decisions while playing, helping you know when to capture, exchange, or make other moves.
#3 Control the center
You should try and control the center of the board with your pieces and pawns. If you control the center, you will have more room to move your pieces and will make it harder for your opponent to find good squares for his pieces. In the example below white makes good moves to control the center while black plays bad moves.

#4 Use all of your pieces
In the example above white got all of his pieces in the game! Your pieces don't do any good when they are sitting back on the first row. Try and develop all of your pieces so that you have more to use when you attack the king. Using one or two pieces to attack will not work against any decent opponent.

Getting Better at Chess

Knowing the rules and basic strategies is only the beginning - there is so much to learn in chess that you can never learn it all in a lifetime! To improve you need to do three things:
#1 - Play
Just keep playing! Play as much as possible. You should learn from each game - those you win and those you lose.
#2 - Study
If you really want to improve quickly then pick up a [recommended chess book]. There are also many resources on ChessKid.com to help you study and improve.
#3 Have fun
Don't get discouraged if you don't win all of your games right away. Everyone loses - even world champions. As long as you continue to have fun and learn from the games you lose then you can enjoy chess forever!

donderdag 21 augustus 2014

Chess Openings

1) Control the Center

For new players, learning the numerous gambits, defenses, attacks and variations of chess openings can seem like an impossible task. Trying to learn detailed opening lines is not only unnecessary for beginners, but probably counterproductive.
Instead, new players should first learn the basic principles of chess openings. These principles not only set out a good, general guide on how to play the opening, but also help to make sense of more advanced opening theory.
Our first opening principle is control of the center. The center -- particularly, the squares e4, d4, e5 and d5 -- is the most important area of the chessboard; control of the center allows more mobility for the pieces, as well as easy access to all parts of the board. Attacks in the center also tend to be the most effective. These factors often turn the opening into a fierce battle for central control between the two sides.
Conversely, Black has played the first few moves poorly. His pawns on a5 and h5 do not influence the center at all, and his knights on a6 and h6 are limited in their movements.

2) King Safety

In the opening, it is crucial to keep king safety in mind. Weakening the position of the king can lead to quick losses, or force the sacrifice of material to keep our king from being checkmated. Similarly, if the opponent's king looks vulnerable, it is important to exploit this before the king can find a more secure position.
Often, the f-pawn (f2 for White, f7 for Black) is the weakest point in the opening for each side. The diagram above arises after the moves 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 f6? 3. Nxe5 fxe5 4. Qh5+. White is taking advantage of the weak e8-h5 diagonal created by Black's second move, and has a large advantage.
Sometimes, these weaknesses can even result in quick checkmates. One example which works on the same idea of weakness along the king's diagonal is the Fool's Mate.

3) King Safety - Castling

As king safety is so important, it is usually advisable to castle early, particularly for beginners. A castled king is typically safer than one in the middle of the board, and castling will usually avoid the quick checkmates that can be frustrating for beginners.
In the diagram above, both players have castled within the first 5 moves of the game. Both kings are quite safe, and neither player needs to fear a quick checkmate.
It is also worth noting that the positions around the kings -- specifically, the three pawns in front of the castled kings -- have not been disturbed. Moving these pawns in the opening will generally make the king very vulnerable, as it opens lines of attack for the other player's pieces.

4) Development

When the game begins, the pieces have little influence. The knights are the only pieces which can move off the bank rank; the others need pawns to move so that they can enter the battlefield.
The process of bringing the pieces off of the bank rank and into the game is known as development. It is important to develop quickly; the player who is ahead in development has an advantage, as they have better chances to attack or gain the initiative.
Development is more than just moving pieces. There are several principles to keep in mind when developing.
  • Knights and bishops should be developed first. In general, minor pieces should be brought into the game before the major pieces. Knights and bishops can influence the center and create attacking opportunities, while being less vulnerable to attacks than rooks or the queen.
  • Don't overuse the queen early. Related to the previous principle, moving the queen around early in the game is often a mistake. While the queen is valuable, this also makes it vulnerable; every time it is attacked by a weaker piece, it must move to avoid capture. After all, trading a queen for a knight or bishop isn't a good idea.
  • Don't move the same piece multiple times in the opening unless necessary. It is more important to bring many pieces into play, and attacks using only one or two pieces are rarely successful.
  • Develop with threats. Threatening the opponent's pieces will force him to take defensive action, rather than continuing his own development.

In the diagram above (which arises after the moves 1. e4 e5 2. Qg4 d6 3. Qh5 Nf6 4. Qf3 Bg4 5. Qa3 d5 6. Qa5 Nc6 7. Qa4), White has only developed his queen, leaving him far behind Black. Meanwhile, Black has followed the principles of development well, bringing three pieces into play and constantly harassing White's queen.

5) Freedom

Freedom is related to development. In the opening, it's important to allow the pieces to move freely into the game, facilitating healthy development. When pieces or the central pawns are blocked, it makes it much more difficult to develop properly.
Pieces should also be developed to squares where they have great freedom of movement. A piece that has very limited movement is not much better than one still on its starting square.
A common mistake made by beginners is developing one piece to a square that hinders the development of other pieces. In the above diagram, both players have developed their kingside bishop to the square in front of their d-pawn (d3 for White, d6 for Black). While developing a bishop is a good idea, the placement of these bishops prevents each player from moving their d-pawn, making it more difficult to develop their queenside bishops or gain more control over the center.
In addition, both bishops are now hemmed in somewhat by their own e-pawns, which block their movements along one diagonal. For instance, the White bishop would have been better developed to c4 or e2, where it would have had freedom of movement in two directions. Similarly, the Black bishop would have more freedom on either c5 or e7.