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The Timeless Game of Chess

Although some folks like to play chess online against a computer that is pre-programmed, others would say that this is nothing like the real thing, i.e. a game between two real opponents pitting their wits and skills against each other with their armies set out in battle formation in front of them on the table. Thus chess is a kind of warfare, but cerebral rather than physical, and such is the complexity of the game that it is reckoned to require quite a high degree of intelligence. Historically the game was seen as the preserve of nobility and high class culture.

Although all Chess sets come with the same amount and types of pieces, they can differ in size from a small travelling set, to the standard set with the king of 3.35-4.13 inches, right up to a large garden set. The pieces themselves can also differ quite a bit in design. The Staunton set is generally regarded as the standard set for tournament play, but there are many themed sets available such as Richard the Lionheart, the Lord of the Rings, the Battle of Waterloo, and even the Simpsons. There is a famous Isle of Lewis chess set design based on pieces carved in the 12th century and discovered in 1831 in the Hebrides islands. They are intricately carved from walrus ivory and can be seen at the British Museum.

Chess pieces are generally made of wood such as mahogany, rosewood, or ebony, but in the past have been fashioned from ivory, jasper, or stone, amongst other materials. Many modern sets also use man-made materials such as acrylic or plastic in some form.

The game of chess requires the use of strategic thinking rather than simply playing one move at a time to defend an own piece or without any clear cut overall plan of action. A plan often has to be modified in the light of an opponent's moves, but the ability to see in one's mind the possible outcomes at any given point is a distinct advantage. This kind of ability is somewhat akin to a photographic memory but goes even further by projecting a mental picture of possible future outcomes. Unfortunately many of us do not possess such qualities and mah have to play a more defensive game as a result.

Because of the virtually limitless numbers of different possible moves at every turn, the game of chess remains eternally satisfying, unlike some computer games which can become boring after just a short while.



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