Chess is a board game that requires its two players to make moves against each other in hopes of capturing their opponent’s king. It is a game of strategy that develops memory and concentration. In order to play chess successfully, players need to “attack” their opponent’s pieces and eliminate them. Chess involves a lot of problem solving. Your mind is constantly scanning the board and piecing together possible solutions. Chess challenges you to explore new combinations and anticipate the result.
Chess is about thinking logically. There are six different types of pieces, each moving in a different direction, over a different amount of spaces. A chessboard is symmetric with a diagonal line of symmetry. The chessboard consists of eight rows by eight columns, alternating in color, and can be seen as a plane. Players learn and master how the pieces move through the plane and can apply what they know about mathematics to make beneficial combinations of moves.
Image reproduced with permission of 3D Chess
The chess pieces create different line patterns on the board since each piece moves differently through the plane. A bishop, for example, moves diagonally across the board in any direction. A bishop starting on a white space and a bishop starting on a black space will never meet. This is similar to the concept of parallel lines in a plane. Knights move in an ‘L’ shape; one space left or right and three spaces up or down, and vice versa. When knights move, they end up on a square that is in a different row, a different column, and is on a different colored space. In this way, players use their problem solving skills to make successful combinations of moves.
While playing chess, it is possible to determine who is winning mid-game by assigning numerical values to pieces still in play. A king is worth 0 points, a pawn is worth 1 point, a knight is worth 3 points, a bishop is worth 3 points, a rook is worth 5 points, and a queen is worth 9 points. These numerical values are determined by the versatility of the pieces. The queen is the most valuable piece on the board since she can move in any direction, any number of spaces. This is why the queen is worth the most points. Not only can this determine who is winning, but it can also be a valuable counting hint for players. For example, a player may sacrifice two pawns in order to capture a bishop. Ultimately, the player will be ahead one point, suggesting that is was a productive move, although there is no real point system when playing chess. In much the same way, players can look for alternatives instead of sacrificing too much. Players can use math to help them problem solve.