In ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ and beyond, chess holds up a mirror to life - Deepstash

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In ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ and beyond, chess holds up a mirror to life

https://bigthink.com/culture-religion/queens-gambit-chess-and-life

bigthink.com

In ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ and beyond, chess holds up a mirror to life
If this use of chess to represent life feels familiar, it is largely thanks to the medieval world. People have used chess to represent not only conflict but love, duty, and more. In this article, a professor of English discusses the politics of chess in the late middle ages, and how we continue to use chess metaphors for life today.

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Early European chess players changed the game

Early European chess players changed the game

Early European chess players turned the chess game to reflect their society's political structure.

  • Originally, chess was a game of war. Horsemen, elephant-riding fighters, charioteers and infantry protected the "shah" and his counsellor, the "firz."
  • But Europeans changed the "shah" to a king, the "vizier" to queen, the "elephants" to bishops, the "horses" to knights, the "chariots" to castles, and the "foot soldiers" to pawns.
  • Instead of representing the units in an army, the pieces now stood in for Western social order - those who fought (knights), those who prayed (clergy) and those who worked (the rest).

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Chess: The transformation of the queen

  • Initially, the chess queen could only move one square.
  • In the 15th century, the queen gained unlimited movement in any direction.
  • The queen's elevation to the strongest piece appeared first in Spain during the time when the powerful Queen Isabella was on the throne.

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Chess is 'life in miniature'

The 13th-century Dominican friar Jacobus de Cessolis described the ways each chess piece contributes to a harmonious social order.

  • He distinguished paws by trade and connected each to its royal partner.
  • The first pawn is a farmer and tied to the castle because he provides food to the kingdom.
  • The second pawn is a blacksmith who makes armour for the knight.
  • The third is an attorney who helps the bishop with legal matters.

Jacobus's allegory becomes the central message of the mini-series "The Queen's Gambit." Beth becomes a figurative queen after she learns to work with other players. Just like the pawn, she converts in her final game.

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How to get good at chess

How to get good at chess

We can only get good at chess by loving it.

Every game should teach you something. Play people better than you and be prepared to lose. Then you will learn.

The beginner chess player

Start to set out the pawns, then add the pieces. Understand how a pair of bishops can dominate the board, or how rooks can take pawns in an endgame.

Once you know the basics, start using computers and online resources to play and analyse games. Don't just play against the computer - find human opponents online or in person.

Study the games of great chess masters

Find a player you identify with and follow their careers, such as Bobby Fisher, Morphy, Alekhine, Capablanca, Tal, Korchnoi, Shirov, and other legendary figures.

They also have fascinating life stories you can get familiar with.

The familiarity of it

The familiarity of it

Chess is more familiar than you think.

  • There is a king who doesn't do much himself because everybody "got his back."
  • There's a queen who does whatever she likes.

The history of chess

  • Chess emerged in fifth-century India. In ancient India, there were no bishops, castles, or queens, but elephants, chariots, and ministers of war.
  • In early Islam, the game was played with elegant cylinders and conicals in ivory or stone.
  • In the 12th -century Norway the kings were bearded brutes with lustrous hair, flanked by shield-biting berserkers.
  • Chess standardized in the 19th century and became the Staunton version we play with today.

Chess is a great teacher

Chess either gets you hooked or makes you avoid it because it is not played enough.

The number of different possible positions on the board adds up to 10 to the power of 120. The numbers of the pieces involved are frequently quoted and always unimaginable.

But chess is a game of logical consequences and sly entrapment. It is a magnetic field of forces that are charged with energy. It is an endless pursuit that gives it an edge.