“The game of chess is not merely an idle amusement. Several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired or strengthened by it… Life is a kind of chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with.” – Benjamin Franklin

It is true that there are a number of leisure activities and games which parallel real life. When one considers the game of chess, however, there are numerous such similarities. For instance? Firstly, since it is a game of strategy, chess causes a player to solve problems quickly, as they arise, and to think ahead; two skills which are prerequisites to living successfully. Thus, skills for chess can be of great benefit in real-life situations.

Many a novice will not realise that chess is a game which has the ability to bring people together, in that it causes an individual to consider how the other person thinks and put themselves in the other person’s shoes in order to better understand how he or she thinks and reasons. Playing against the same opponent often, can also instil a sense of compassion, especially if you’re also the one who’s victorious.

Chess really is a wonderful game that anyone should endeavour to learn, no matter their age.

Let’s get into some of the aspects of the game and skills for chess that can benefit players and help them fine-tune their overall game-plan and sharpen their skills.

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Is There a Connection Between Maths and Chess?

It has been quite common for chess players to assume that to become a chess fundi, you have to be good at mathematics.

Is this still so?

There are definitely a number of factors that do influence whether someone will be good at chess or not, it must be said that most proficient chess players all excel at maths, which is extremely helpful with chess problem solving

There are many people, who have not been accomplished at maths during the early years at school, who can still do well at chess. However, mathematics fosters logical thinking, which inevitably gives the individual an advantage over his or her opponent as it enables you to assess a situation and respond appropriately.

When comparing chess and maths, it is important to note that both disciplines benefit from and encourage logical reasoning and problem-solving. Of course, there is no use for trigonometry or algebra in chess.

Also, it is advantageous to be a skilful mathematician when learning the game of chess, as there are several similarities between the two disciplines.

For instance?

chess and maths
The resemblances between maths and chess relate to logical thinking and problem-solving. (Source: Unsplash)

Here are some skills that chess teaches us and which reflect some of the ways in which the two fields intersect:

  • Knowing exactly when to sacrifice a particular piece to open up your opponent’s defences and, possibly, ending the game victorious,
  • Equally developing recognition and memorisation abilities,
  • The ability to constantly calculate from start to finish,
  • Clear interpretation of geometric concepts such as rows, files and diagonals,
  • Refining and testing spatial reasoning skills,
  • Being able to anticipate imminent plays and moves.

These are but some of the similarities between maths and chess. While there is clear correspondence between chess and mathematics, it is important to note that maths does not rely on chess in any way, since its was a discipline and subject of study long before chess, as a game, was invented.

Does one then find differences between maths and chess? Of course! Firstly, chess is limited since it is a game; mathematics is not, since it has numerous applications in numerous fields, e.g. construction, education, science and business. The list is virtually endless. Chess has as an outcome the beating of an opponent, while maths sets out to solve a problem or an equation. A third point is that while maths has a raft of everyday applications, chess is a game confined to a board, merely suggestive of real-life situations.

Still, it is quite amazing to consider the skills that chess teaches us.

Win a Chess Game in Three Moves, Here’s How

Have you always thought that chess is a game which consisted of many moves and lasted for hours? You would not be alone in your thinking. While chess can be a game which can lasts for several hours, some matches have been known to end very swiftly. A quick end to the game can be expedited with a few uncomplicated moves.

Long, drawn-out games are very often the result of two very proficient players pitting their skills against one another, all the time anticipating the opponent’s next move and manoeuvring to block it or set up a counter-attack.

Critical to conceiving and executing some great potent strategies is a good working knowledge of the function of each piece and how each moves across the board.

Nevertheless, let’s dive right in and consider how a novice chess player can win a chess game in only three moves by executing one of two gameplays: one without capturing and one with capturing.

With Capturing Strategy

You can set yourself up to vanquish your opponent in three moves, whilst capturing some enemy pawns with the following set of moves:

  • Advance the King Pawn: To clear the way for your Queen to move and open up a way to attack your opponent’s Queen, move your king pawn forward two squares to square e4.
  • Capture your Opponent’s Pawn: capture your competitor’s pawn at f5 using your pawn; this manoeuvre tricks your competitor to advance his knight.
  • The Queen Advances: slide your queen diagonally across the board to h5, thus trapping the king and securing checkmate!

With No Captures

Another way to successfully complete a chess game in only three moves is to following these steps outlined here:

  • Advance Queen Pawn: Move your Queen pawn forward one space to d3. Your intention is to get your competitor to move his/ her knight and bishop pawns forward, allowing White’s Queen to move to h5.
  • Advance King Pawn: Your second move advances the King Pawn two spaces to e4, thus freeing up the Queen.
  • Strike with your Queen: Move your Queen to h5 (Qh5) to trap Black’s King in checkmate!

Chess: A Game of Strategy and Planning

young children learning to play chess
Chess is a game of strategy and planning that can be played by people of all age groups. - Source: Pexels

The game of chess is known across the world for many things and great abilities can be developed. For most people, chess is a game of strategy and planning, because you have to calculate your moves, consider your opponent’s responses and not leave your primary pieces exposed when you go on the attack.

It is of great importance to note that strategic thinking cannot be without planning and vice versa.

Let’s kick off by considering how the game is one of planning and then consider aspects which make the game one of strategy.

Chess Planning

Except in the case of a draw or stalemate, every chess game will have a winner! That position will be occupied by the player whose plan was effectively executed. Devising a plan is an indispensable aspect of every chess encounter. Having a plan assists a player to assess their position, advance judiciously, execute the correct moves and in essence saves two valuable resources: energy and time.

Once your opponent has executed a move, you have to assess the impact thereof and respond accordingly, keeping your plan in mind. Actions and goals are important parts of a winning plan and will be shaped by you correctly summing up the situation and by responding carefully, in an unrushed, calculated way.

It is important to bear in mind that planning for a game of chess must be rational and realistic to implement.

It is highly unlikely that your opponent knows what your plan is. However, their game plan will be to keep you on the back foot or, if you’re on the attack, to disrupt your play and cause you to constantly re-evaluate your plan. Again, chess problem solving is critical and on-going!

Chess Strategy

Besides relying on planning, chess is also a game that involves strategy. Strategy, according to Wikipedia, is a general plan to achieve one or more long-term goals under conditions of uncertainty. While the period is not very long, the plan entails far more than simply seeking to capture a single piece or two. It involves a larger-scale plan, in a series of moves, to penetrate or destroy the “enemy’s” defences and, eventually, trap the king.

With regular practice, you will become a better strategic thinker as you adjust your play and adapt your overall plan, in response to your opponent’s gambits.

While it is safe to say that none of us was born with the ability to strategically execute chess plays, our ability to do so will be honed by playing the game on a regular basis, be it against a computer, an in-person or online competitor.

Taking the time to think about your opposition’s possible moves and strategising your play will enable you to win games at a higher level more easily.

The strategic thinking developed by playing the game of chess will also be great asset in other areas of life.

IQ and Success at Chess

white chess timer
Those who excel at chess have above-average IQs and tend to use more parts of their brain than ordinary people. - Source: Pexels

A person’s IQ, or Intelligence Quotient, is a measure of their reasoning ability, compared to the average scores for their age.  This is determined by a test which compares the person’s chronological age to their mental age. Tested will be topics which range from English vocabulary to mathematics.

The IQ score for most people ranges between 70 and 130 points, which represents an ability range that is just below average to above average.

People who score between 145 and 160, are said to be at the level of a genius.

It is important to say that some people score better in particular domains than individuals who specialise in other fields.

Is this true of chess players?

While it may be virtually impossible to ascertain the IQ-scores of all chess players across the globe, when we look at the IQ’s of extremely proficient chess players, there appears to be a trend.

For example, Garry Kasparov and Magnus Carlsen are thought to be the top players of all time. Both have an IQ score of 190 points. Bobby Fischer, another chess legend, had a slighter lower score of 187.

Is there, thus, a correlation between chess ability and an elevated IQ score?

Researchers and scientist have isolated the following four features or parts of intelligence that can determine whether chess players possess higher IQ’s:

  • Fluid reasoning
  • Processing speed
  • Short-term memory
  • Comprehension knowledge

Although superior intelligence does seem to aid a player’s performance, it doesn’t automatically follow that you have to be a genius to be successful at playing the game of chess.

In summation, today’s article should make clear to would-be chess players what abilities and skills are necessary to improve their overall chess strategy and give them the confidence to become better at a truly magnificent game.

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Trevor

Career teacher turned writer. Passionate about family, running, and the great outdoors.