Chess Sets

chessLong before chess came to Europe from India, the British Celts were playing board games where the object was to capture a central ‘king’ piece. Two variants of this game existed, Gwyddbwyll and Tallfwrdd.

Chess openings usually try to avoid the creation of Pawn weaknesses. Pawn weakness is a term used to describe the presence of isolated, doubled and backward Pawns, or clustering many Pawns together in the form of a Pawn island. Some players sacrifice at the endgame in favor of a fast attack on the opponent’s position. Another option is to sacrifice Pawns at the beginning to create a fast attack on the enemy at the endgame stage.

Let’s look at some real life illustrations. A 25 year-old guy, living a wild and hard life, full of promiscuous sex and drug abuse, gets AIDS. Bad? What kind of life does a 25 year old in that kind of lifestyle have? Pretty empty and shallow. But having contracted AIDS, the guy takes a serious look at his life. Now that he’s told he’s going to die, he starts trying to make his life count. The following years are full of meaning and purpose. This isn’t just a pie in the sky story. This exact scenario has happened to hundreds of men, many still alive. In fact some of the very early patients diagnosed with AIDS in the early 80s fit this description, and believe it or not remain alive today, living thriving, productive lives, that they would have scoffed at in their carefree, irresponsible days.

That well-known Max Lange brilliancy was included on, for instance, pages 10-12 of The King-Hunt by W.H. Cozens (London, 1970), where Black was identified as von Schierstedt and the heading was ‘Exhibition Game, about 1856′. Various anything-will-do databases state – categorically, of course – either 1856 or 1857, without any venue, but when Max Lange himself annotated the game on pages 112-115 of his book Sammlung Neuer Schachpartien (Leipzig, 1857) he gave Black’s name as Herr von Schierstedt, with the information ‘gespielt zu Wörmlitz am 1. März 1855′.

The idea behind the game is to effectively trap the opponents King, which will ultimately render them unable to move and consequently win the game. This is achieved by moving pieces in their various patterns and consequently ‘taking’ opposing pieces that fall at the end of their path.

Montu Das, a kickboxing administrator, coach and former kickboxer, founded the Chess Boxing Organisation of India in 2011. There have already been two national chessboxing championships held this year, one in January and the other in July; is there any other sport in the country to have two national tournaments within the space of half a year? Somehow, this double-quick pacing of national tournaments fits well with the crazy rhythm and pace of chessboxing itself. As Das puts it in his promotional brochure with a flourish of antonyms, chessboxing is ‘soft and hard, cold and hot, thinking and contact’.

Fivefold repetition of a position, similar to the threefold-repetition rule, but in this case no player needs to claim the draw for the game to be drawn. This rule took effect on 1 July 2014. It establishes that there is a theoretical upper bound on the length of lawful chess games.