While a few psychologists are busy proving that the humans only operate at a tenth of their theoretical capacity and a few others are busy proving the aforementioned wrong, let us leave this phrenology on them and concentrate on how to keep our brain functioning at the top-notch?
Well, our brain is complex. It performs millions of prosaic acts; it also composes concertos, issues manifestos and comes up with decorous solutions to equations. It’s the wellspring of all human feelings, behaviors, experiences as well as the repository of memory and self-awareness. So it’s no surprise that the brain remains a mystery unto itself.
The axiom ‘use it or lose it’ surely seems to apply to the developing nervous system. It is true that challenging our brains makes us sharper. So, why not challenge it in an enthralling way? Chess. Yes, ‘the game of kings’ could be your emancipator. Practicing chess regularly results in better brain function, improved memory and cognitive abilities, strategic thinking and attention improvement.
- During the Gupta dynasty, back in 6th century is when the primogenitors of chess originated in northern India. It was known as Chaturanga : ‘the four divisions’, meaning infantry, cavalry, elephantry, and chariotry, represented by the pieces that would evolve into the modern pawn, knight, rook, and, bishop respectively.
- Ashtāpada (8×8 squared board), Saturankam (9×9 squared board) and Dasapada (10×10 squared board) were some of the earliest chess board designs. From India, Chess then was instigated to Persia and became a part of the princely education of Persian integrity. It was later named as ‘Shatranj’ by the Arab Muslims of the country. Players started calling “Shāh!” (Persian name for ‘King!’) When attacking the opponent’s king, and “Shāh Māt!” (Persian name for ‘the king is helpless’ i.e. checkmate) when the king was attacked and couldn’t escape from attack.
- By the end of the 15th century, after the elaboration in Europe, the modern rules for the basic moves had been adopted from Italy: pawns gained the option of moving two squares on their first move and the en passant capture therewith, bishops acquired their modern move, and the queen was made the most powerful piece; consequently modern chess was referred to as “Queen’s Chess” or “Mad Queen Chess”. The game in Europe since that time has been almost the same as is played today. The current rules were finalized in the early 19th century, except for the exact conditions for a draw.
The Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE) or World Chess Federation, founded in Paris, France, on July 20, 1924; is an international organization that connects the various national chess federations around the world and acts as the governing body of international chess competition.
Although chess is not an Olympic sport, it has its own Olympiad, held every two years as a team event.
So, the best moves?
The premiere moves of a chess game are termed the ‘opening moves’. A good opening will render better custody of the King, clout over an area of the board (specifically the center), prodigious mobility for pieces, and possibly scopes to capture opposing pawns and pieces.
Castling would be an important intent in the opening, because it succors two relevant purposes: the king is moved into an impervious position away from the center of the board, and it moves the rook to a more effective position in the center of the board (it is even viable to checkmate with castling).
A few most famous openings would include: (N = forward, B = backward)
Ruy Lopez a.k.a. Spanish Opening :e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5
Berlin Defence: e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Be7 6.Qe2 Nd6 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.dxe5 Nb7 9.Nc3 0-0
King’s Indian Defence: d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6.
Sicilian Defence: e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be2 Be7 7.0-0 Nc6 8.Be3 a6 9.f4 Qc7 10.Qe1 Bd7
Do remember, the game of chess entails two players, not just you. No matter how enchanted you are with your own plans, make sure you always ask yourself about your opponent’s impulsions. Complete concentration and a few strategic moves in the openings, and the game is yours! All the best!