Checkmate, Nerd

Leader and competition. White Chess King among lying down black pawns on chessboard, dark blue background.

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Leader and competition. White Chess King among lying down black pawns on chessboard, dark blue background.

Nora Smith, Staff Writer

Naturally, many of us laud the game, revere it above all others; what is Fortnite, when compared to chess? It’s nothing; it has always been nothing, even when not compared to this spectacular pass-time. However, that is utterly irrelevant. Chess has existed for centuries, always having entertained, regardless of who is playing; all people can find something enjoyable. Unless, you don’t – then that would probably be quite despairing.

Recently, it has grown in popularity; especially within our Holy Family community. Our chess club has become a wide-spread attraction. As a freshman, there had been very few members, and due to that, I scarcely attended. Entering the first day of my senior year, I was thoroughly thunderstruck; we did not have enough chess boards for all the players!

If all of these prior facts fail to intrigue a student, nor convince them to join our club, here are some merry factoids to perhaps solidify their decision on the only viable option: Join chess club.

The Queen used to be almost as bad as a Pawn; before Queen Isabella, it used to move only one space, diagonally. Now, it is the most powerful piece on the board.

The longest chess game theoretically possible is 5,949 moves.

Here’s a little thing to ponder for all of my fellow math/science nerds: The number of possible unique chess games is much greater than the number of electrons in the universe. The number of electrons is estimated to be about 10^79, while the number of unique chess games is 10^120.

Until 1299, priests were¬†forbidden from playing chess; yes, dearest reader, you read correctly. There were religious orders, given out by bishops and kings, restricting the clergy and monks from playing chess! However, the folding chess board, which was invented in 1125, was made by a priest to hide the fact that he was playing chess. In 1254, it was religious law, decreed by King Louis IX, that priests could not play chess because he considered it a “useless and boring game”. Wild.

Blindfolded chess actually exists! Apparently, the ability only exists among master players, who know the board well enough to play without the use of sight. I, evidently being of similar magnitude, find this relatively easy to imagine, of course. It seems easy, really; you know, playing a sight-based game without sight.

Yes, it is possible to play chess when your opponent is in space. In 1970, the Soyez-9 crew had a match whilst exploring the solar system.

Not only was chess forbidden among priests, but throughout the Chinese Empire, as well! Two chess players were executed due to Emperor Wen-ti discovering that one of the pieces was called “the emperor”, and he did not wish to be associated with a game.

If the fact that in the Chinese Empire, you could have been killed for playing chess does not convince you to join chess club, I am not sure what will. I have provided all of these undeniable facts, and you continue to remain here, reading, when you can be joining chess club. What are you doing? Stop reading, open up a chess board, and go checkmate somebody!