Chess, chess, chess…

Luke Lavender wants more people to see the value in this age-old game.

Illustration: Kaja Aanonsen

Chess game by student Aaron Deeery
Illustration: Aaron Deeery 

How do I start? Who goes first? How does the horse move again?

It can all seem a bit overwhelming, can’t it? There’s a reason for that after all – there are over 9 million different possible positions after three moves each, and after just four moves this figure rises to 288 billion.

Forget that for now. I’m, sure many, scrap that, all of you have played, or seen chess being played at some point. There’s a reason for that: the game has been around for easily over 1000 years, originating in India.

Forget the history, the point is don’t be shy about the prospect of playing chess. There’s a reason why it captivates so many people’s interests, so why shouldn’t it capture yours? If you’re like Bobby Fischer, it’s a chance to play some mind games – then go insane.

Never mind that either – chess is a great teacher of skills, namely that of the brain. It’s a great improver of problem solving. In kids it helps dealing with loss, and (let’s be honest) we’re still not that much different to kids.

If you want some relevance to University life, it’s a big helper for long-term memory, so perfect for revision. The legendary Kasparov has in fact been pushing for chess to be put on the school curriculum in Russia – I wouldn’t say no!

Getting into chess now isn’t as hard as it was or you think it to be. This is all thanks to YouTube – full of instructive videos, and online chess sites, if you don’t want to play in person.

Finally, if you’re under the impression there’s no chance to play around here down in Cornwall, you’re wrong! There’s a newly established chess society welcome to all, there’s also me and other chess players who are always willing for a game.