Medieval Pieces

“Pawns are the soul of the game.”

– François-André D. Philidor

 

Image result for chess pieces

(L to R: Pawn, Rook, Knight, Bishop, Queen, King)

Chess portrays a history lesson in medieval life and time; each piece portraying a facet of the middle age culture.

CHESS: A board of 64 squares of 2 alternating colors. 2 players each with 16 pieces or “Chessman.” 32 total. Half ebony. Half ivory. Each player gets 1 King, 1 Queen, 2 Rooks, 2 Knights, 2 Bishops, and 8 Pawns.

PAWN: The pawns represent the serfs of the times. Serfs were practically slaves. They were manual laborers for the kingdom and treated as property. They could be sold, used as a deflection, traded, exploited, or put to the death for the greater good. Just like serfs, pawns are the greatest in number. They are used to create diversions and sacrifice themselves for the sake of the nobility.

ROOK: Although being called a “castle” is out-dated, this piece, also formerly called the tower, rector, or marquess, does, in fact, resemble a castle. Interestingly enough, the rook’s true name is derived from the word “chariot” in many languages such as Persian. In usage, it portrays the speed of a chariot. It is stronger than a Queen, thus this “tower” is a place of refuge for other pieces.

KNIGHT: The Knight represents the knights of the middle ages! A protector of the nobility, this warrior is the only piece that can jump. As chosen soldiers, they also sacrifice their lives for nobility.

BISHOP: A bishop in medieval times was a priest who had climbed the ladder of success in the Catholic Church. The Church was a normal part of everyday life for most people and had a grandiose effect on them.  This powerful piece is not limited in distance. In other cultures, it may have depicted a different facet of life- runner/messenger (Romanian) or jester (French).

QUEEN: The Queen “Chessman” represents … you got it! Drumroll, please … The Medieval Queen! As the only woman in the game, she moves with grace and force. In the Middle Ages, queens were mighty and very influential to her king. She moved mountains in the inner courts, even though, at times playing games of intrigue. In the game of chess, the queen has the right to move wherever she wants.

KING: The King chess piece resembles the Medieval King. The loss of the king means the surrender of the kingdom, or in this case, the game. (Let’s remember – it’s a game here and not real warfare 🙂 Yeah, right. To lose is to die! 🙂 A thousand deaths I’ve died… It is every piece’s responsibility to protect the king. Their lives’ depend on it. Although he is the most important piece, he is not the most powerful.

1 Board. 64 squares. 32 pieces. 2 people.

Hey, got an hour? I’ll put the coffee on…

 

Bubczyk, Robert. “‘Ludus Inhonestus Et Illicitus?” Chess, Games, and the Church in Medieval Europe.” SpringerLink, Springer, 1 Jan. 1970, link.springer.com/chapter/10.1057/9781137497529_2.

“Chess History.” Chess Variants – Ancient Chess – How to Play – Xiangqi – Shogi – Shatranj, ancientchess.com/WordPress/?page_id=269.

V, Kam. “Chess Is More than a Game of Skill-It Is a Medieval History Lesson in Miniature.” Chess.com, Chess.com, 13 Nov. 2008, http://www.chess.com/article/view/chess-is-more-than-a-game-of-skill-it-is-a-medieval-history-lesson-in-miniature.

 

 

 

 

Chess Legends

Chess- the oldest strategic skilled game in the world. To whom do we owe our gratitude for such an ingenious game? India? China? Persia? Europe?
 
Our 1st legend and my personal favorite, claims that a very old, wise man in India, Sissa Ibn Dahir,  wanted his king, Shihram to understand the necessity of each person in society. Thus, he invented the game chess to display how the rooks needed the bishops, and the king needs the queen, and so on. The king was delighted and promised Sissa anything he wanted. Sissa wished for one grain of rice to be put on the first square,  doubling on each subsequent square.  Doing this, he showed that even though pawns (serfs) are small, you can’t overestimate their strength in numbers.  It worked! The king got it! He ordered everyone to play this new game and no one took anyone for granted anymore. Ok, I added that last part… hey, dreaming is what keeps us alive, eh? 😊 Other sources claim that chess was derived from the 2-player Indian war game, Chatrang, around 600 B.C. and then it made it’s way to Europe via Persia in 1000 B.C. 
 
Legend 2. China. 200 B.C. The story goes that Han Xin invented the game to represent a particular battle in history.  Apparently, it didn’t start to really catch on until the 7th century, and also, the game board and pieces were different than what you would see today.
 
Number 3.  Some believe chess came from Persia. My research concludes that an Indian ambassador took the game to Persia and challenged the most intelligent people of the Persian court to play with this unique board game consisting of ebony and ivory pieces.  They played for the title of most intellectual and the loser paid a tribute. Legend has it that India lost, but that Persia most likely won by reason of bribery from Indian envoys. 
 
 
There are as least as many legends as there are chess pieces, but, whether you play Makruk (Thai Chess),
Janggi (Korean Chess), Sittuyin (Burmese chess), or
Shogi (The Generals Game) a variant of chess in Japan, it doesn’t matter-just keep playing!
 
 
Stay tuned for our next blogs: “Medieval Pieces” and “Why did the Church ban chess?”

 

 

Chess History, http://www.chesshere.com/resources/chess_history.php.

“History Of Chess – A Simple Guide on Who Invented Chess.” IChess.net, 1 Dec. 2018, http://www.ichess.net/blog/history-of-chess/.

Online Chess vs. In Real Time

Hey chess lovers!

I haven’t written in a while, but don’t doubt I’ve still been playing chess… and Searching for Bobby Fisher! I play In Real Time with my friends whenever I get the chance, but lately I’ve been playin’ a lil’ chess online. What are the pro’s and con’s of web play vs. playing real people? I’m glad you asked.

The pro’s of playing with real homosapiens vs.computer bots are many. First, humans are the most complex, imaginative, strategic, mammals on earth, so, any time you play a human it’s like hunting the hunter..( Refer to The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell) .. you can not foresee another humans neuron synapses, and thus, can not determine their next move. Secondly, you can intimidate your face to face players with many facial and bodily expression. Sorry, friends, we play to win. We are hard core chess players! Third, online, a lot of people quit playing the game once you start gaining a little territory…human opponents usually finish the whole game…even if they are losing, in order to be a respectful player. We play to win, but we respect the game more than the win.

The pro’s of playing online, to me, are as follows: I can play anytime, anywhere. Even if my opponents quit before the game is over, I am ever widening my skills. I can play with my friends across the country or across the world.

End of Analysis : Playing with friends is always better than playing No name in Timbuctoo, but playing at all, is better than never playing.

Rock on chess family!

To “Chess” or not to “Chess”?

I’ll never forget that day…”Play chess with me?” my friend asked. I immediately froze. Chess??? Me??? I started making a list in my mind of all the reasons I couldn’t play.

“Chess is for intelligent people…Mensa awardees and old men that have studied stocks and statistics for years. It takes a long time to play one game, and individuals take 20 minutes to make a move. These are not great combinations for someone like me…I’m loud, I lack strategically planned attacking skills, I talk fast at times, and my thoughts outrun my mouth. Why on earth would someone ask me to play chess? Do I come across as a calm person? They must have lost their minds. Oh well, I love obliging insanity.

Guess WHAT? Yes, she proved me wrong. Chess is my new favorite game. Although, I’m still much better at Charades, Pictionary, or Taboo, Chess is challenging me and stretching my mental and physical faculties as well as providing a quick reprieve from the hustle and bustle of life. In less than 3 months, I can see my brain changing. Call me crazy! I know all the names of the pieces now. (You can laugh here, feel free!) I know how each one moves, who is the strongest, weakest, and how to protect my king, and much more. All this from playing no more than 1 to 2 hours a week, starting out with NO prior knowledge. Sometimes, we play 10 minute “blitzes”…we’d have those old men in the movies toupees flying off as fast as we play!

My point is…Chess is Fun! We make it fun for all ages. The things I’ve learned I can now teach to 6 and 7 year olds…imagine the chess masters we will have in 10 years! Chess will only enhance their minds to go above and beyond in all they do.

“Wanna play chess with me?”

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