Essay on the Game of Chess


It is the game to finally prove that you might be the smartest in the room. It is the game to prove your strategic abilities. People have been playing it since the early 16th century and not much has changed, other than the people playing it. That must mean that it’s a beloved game for people of all ages and races, right? From playing after school with your family for fun, to playing at the World Championships, people find it pleasurable. The exhilarating feeling of knowing that you’ve beaten someone in a game that requires only brain power and strategy. The history of this ancient game, the everlasting rules and strategy, as well as the world champions are all worth understanding. It is the game of Chess.  

The history of chess is important to understand before one can comprehend the game. Chess was invented in the sixth century in ancient India, but then it spread throughout other parts of the world. “The rules of [chess] spread to Persia, where it was known as chatrang, by the tenth or eleventh century”,, (Chess 101). The game then spread into the Arab world, as well as China, Japan and Southeast Asia. Hundred of years later, the game continued to spread around the world. “The game as known to Arab players passed into Europe during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries by way of several different routes, including Southern Europe by way of the Byzantine Empire and Muslim Spain via North Africa”, (Chess 101). Chess became known world-wide and it continued to rise in fame. Medieval Kings, Aristocrats, and Nobles were all players of the respected game. Starting in one country, Chess expanded and influenced the cultures of many nations across the world. 

As chess spread around the world, the way the game was played continued to change. The rules and strategy of chess have changed significantly from the day it was created, and as the years go on, the game is still changing. “This may indeed be because chess games are increasingly becoming more strategic, focusing on gaining control of the board rather than capturing more pieces”, (Olson). In the beginning, people played the game with one goal in mind, to capture as many of your opponents pawns as possible. Now, people are playing with a new goal, to outsmart their opponent. Chess games are longer and more strategic than they were about 50 years ago. The game as well as it’s players are changing drastically and, some would say, the game is getting better. 

Despite research stating that the game has improved tremendously over time, others still believe that the newer players aren’t as good as previous players. The previous generation believes that they will remain unbeatable and will continue to hold the highest positions a chess player can have. “They're [young chess players] not that good really... I've probably got to lose an arm and a leg to fall outside the top 50!”, (O’Sullivan). Ronnie O’Sullivan is a chess champion, and at the age of 44, he has won 6 world championships. He believes that he’s one of the greatest players and cannot be outplayed, especially not by someone younger than him.  O’Sullivan competes with older players as well as the newer generation of players, yet he doesn’t think the younger players are a threat. As the players continue to change, each generation believes they’re better than those that came before, and those that follow. 

Chess players are oftentimes overlooked, forgotten, and not given recognition, especially if they’re females. The world champions of Chess are people who have been practicing from an early age, and they have been dominating every player to stand in their way, regardless of their gender. “The 36-year-old [Judit Polgar] is now the greatest female chess player of all time and the only woman ever to reach the top 10 in the world rankings” (Meet the Superhumans). Judit Polgar has set new records in the chess world. She is the only female that has earned a spot in the top 10 world champions of chess. However, her accomplishments weren’t given to her, instead they were earned. Polgar learned chess from her father from an early age, and since then, she hasn’t stopped playing. “Her most significant legacy has been to explode the myth that men are "naturally" better than women at chess. During Judit's career she has inflicted defeat on Boris Spassky, Garry Kasparov, and nine world champions. "When I started playing, there was an even bigger gap between men and women in chess than there was in most physical sports," she says. "Generally it was not accepted that women are able to reach the same level. Obviously I don't agree. . . and I showed them that I'm right ``'', (Meet the Superhumans and Polgar). Judit plays to prove to men that she, and every other female, is more than capable to play chess. She proved those who doubted her incorrect, and now she’s one of the greatest chess champions in the world.

Chess is an underrated game of strategy and skill. It is the game that people undermine and forget about. The ongoing history, changing strategy and champions all make up the wonderful game of chess. Chess is just as impressive as any other game or sport and it’s time that people give it the recognition it deserves. 

Works Cited

Masterclass. 2020. Chess 101: Who Invented Chess?. [online] Available at: <https://www.masterclass.com/articles/chess-101-who-invented-chess-learn-about-the-history-of-chess-and-3-memorable-chess-games#where-did-chess-originate> [Accessed 8 March 2021].

McShane, Luke. "Chess: Streaks of brilliance." Spectator, vol. 343, no. 10017, 22 Aug. 2020, p. 50. Gale OneFile: High School Edition, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A633858640/STOM?u=pl1902&sid=STOM&xid=836a921e. Accessed 11 Mar. 2021.

"Observer Magazine: Meet the superhumans: Judit Polgar: The girl raised to be a chess grandmaster." Observer [London, England], 18 Nov. 2012, p. 25. Gale OneFile: High School Edition, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A309224176/STOM?u=pl1902&sid=STOM&xid=489b3a53. Accessed 11 Mar. 2021.

Olson, Randy. “Here's How Chess Moves Have Changes Since 1805.” Business Insider, Insider,   12 June 2014, 5:12 A.M., Accessed 11 Mar. 2021. www.businessinsider.com/heres-how-chess-moves-have-changed-since-1850-2014-6.

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