Chess Habits That You Should Build

Chess players are mentally shrewd and they get completely absorbed by the game. Some of the chess habits are quintessential to all grandmasters. However, there is a difference between knowing how to counteract with preciseness of knowledge or skill and respond intuitively and habitually.

What are the chess habits that you should build in order to become an exceptional player? How can you build these habits? Read on to know how to become a world-class chess player.

1.    Analyzing Each Game

It doesn’t matter whether you had a thrashing victory or you lost by only a few points, you must analyze each game that you play afterwards. Instead of encouraging yourself every time, you must pause and mull over the moves. How they could have been better. If your opponent is a friend or someone you know, you can collectively analyze the game. Doing this will make you learn from the mistakes of others as well as your own and you will become a better chess player. Make sure you analyze the games yourself and not with the help of a computer engine.

2.    Focus On Your Shortcomings

It is always better to realize what your shortcomings are as they will actually point you out in the direction you need to work hard to build greater chess acumen. For instance, reading about and learning the endgame positions or trying out various opening game positions. Learn from the games of Karpov, Fischer, and the likes of Capablanca. Tactical problem solving skills will also allow you to make fewer mistakes. Study these openings and endgames daily and try out in your matches. Progress in this way is not easy. It will be gradual but you develop habits slowly and by repetitive usage over time.

3.    Read Books On Chess

It is a wonderful habit to build and clearly one that will help you in becoming a better player. If you are reading a book on strategies and tactics, do not just fill your head up with words. In fact, take out your chessboard and set the pieces accordingly. Practice the moves so that they get engraved in your mind.

4.    Follow Live Tournaments

This is actually the habit of chess masters. If you are on the road to become one, you should consider downloading apps on your smartphones that will keep you abreast about what is going around the world regarding chess tournaments. You can follow the games played by contemporary players and hone your own skills. But, keep in mind that it is not a great habit to check the probably move on the chess engines as it will only make you a lazy player. You will lose your ability to think properly in your own games if you develop the habit of checking out the positions with the engines.

Lastly, you need to have a great action plan if you truly want to improve your game and build healthy chess habits. If you are looking for a new chess set to turn over a new leaf as a chess player, visit Chess Baron’s website and pick a chess set of finest quality at reasonable price.

Tips for Improving Concentration While Playing Chess

Have you ever experienced a thrashing loss in a game of chess because of a mistake? The reason behind your relentless defeats could be lack of concentration. Well, if that is the case, then you can overcome your shortcoming by enhancing your focus so that the chances of miscalculating the positions are minimized.

If you are someone who gets distracted by external noise, you need to learn to clear your thoughts so that your ability to concentrate is enhanced. Here are some tips to augment your concentration at chess:

1.     Mitigating Auditory Distractions

Alas, the conditions to play chess are never ideal and there will always be one or some other form of distraction. Chess players need to mitigate the auditory interference, which can be done by running a commentary of the game in your head. The constant dialog racing through your head will allow you to capture the moves of your opponent in your head just as well as you are aware of yours. The best way to run the mental commentary is to use complete sentences, as it will help you to increase your

concentration. For instance, say, “The knight on c4 captures the pawn on b6”. Notice that complete sentences enable you to think harder.

1.     Perform Exercises to Increase Concentration

Exercises can prove to be an effective strategy to increase the mental alertness when you are playing chess. Great focus is a trait common to all grandmasters so if you like to participate in tournaments, you will have to build upon this ability of yours.

An effective exercise is to follow the seconds hand on an analog clock. While you are doing that, make sure that you do not allow external thoughts to enter your mind. Simply concentrate on the mobile seconds hand for a couple of minutes at least or more. The main purpose of this exercise is to enable you to prevent random thoughts from entering your mind and affecting your chess game.

2.     Develop a Defined Thinking Process

Your thinking process facilitates your concentration. It allows you to keep the distractions at bay. You need to constantly ask questions regarding the movements. The scenario changes with every chess maneuver, you need to work out what has changed since the last move of the opponent. Keep on assessing the consequences of the opponent’s moves with the effect it had on the pieces. You need to learn to distinguish between a real threat and an intimidating move. Run if-else statements in your head — if the last move of the opponent did not have an impact on the predefined plan or strategy you were working upon, there is no harm in proceeding the normal way.

3.     Get Sleep

You need to get ample sleep for higher concentration levels. Undisturbed sleep makes you wake up fresh the next day. With a well rested mind, you can play the game without getting tired. Your brain will function well and you can ace the chess match!


Chess Sets for Children

With the passage of time, chess is gaining more popularity amongst children. Inculcating the habit of playing chess in children is a good way to encourage the young ones to utilize the brains actively. Chess will enable the children to take smarter decisions and proactive measures in all the walks of life. The first step to promote the habit of playing a board mind game in your young ones is to buy a chess set for them. Here are some of the best chess sets for children, with which you can arouse the curiosity of the kids to learn chess moves and play the game strategically.

1.    Magnetic Chess Sets

Initiating the game of chess with the magnetic chess sets is an ideal way to trigger the interest of the kid. These chess sets are ideal for travelling to and the magnetic chess pieces will not slide around the board. Children are competitive by nature and they tend to nudge and thump the boards while playing with each other, making the pieces fall on the board. Therefore, a magnetic chess set will ensure that it can withstand knocks.

2.    Classic Staunton Chess Sets

Do you want to prepare your child for the tournaments? Then, you must really opt for Staunton chess sets prepared for children exclusively. Not only will your child get acquainted with the pieces that the chess masters play with in great matches, it is also an incredible opportunity for you to enable your child to appreciate the simplicity and the beauty of the classic Staunton design. Whether the pieces are made up of ivory and rosewood, hornbeam wood, ebony or Sheesham, the beauty of chess sets is exemplified by the design of the pieces. When searching for chess sets for children, go for a board that is robust and has a sturdy appearance.

3.    Combination Boards

Who doesn’t like boards that yield the benefit of several games within a single combination board? Look for combination board games for children, which will allow the perks of backgammon, draughts, and chess in one package. Draughts and backgammon also involve strategic thinking capabilities and the combined power of all three games will boost the analytical capabilities of your children. The combination board games are available in the form of travel sets, briefcase styled boards, and chess tables. Pick the one you think your child will enjoy playing the games most on.

4.    Themed Chess Sets

Children have unique interests. If your child is also a book lover, then gifting a themed chess set centering on the characters of the book is a captivating way to appreciate the diverse talents of the kids. These Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and Friends chess sets are quite remarkably detailed. The themed chess sets will not only serve as a board game but also be a perfect item to decorate the room. Wouldn’t your children absolutely love to maneuver their favorite characters across the chess boards?



5 Leadership Lessons Taught by the Strategic Game of Chess

As the world becomes more technologically complex, people tend to digress and get distracted easily. Stepping into the leadership roles is daunting than ever before. However, problem solving board games like chess have an impact over the way we think and act, especially in leadership roles. Here is how chess help visionaries and leaders to inspire others.

1.     Failure Shapes the Future Prospects

Players are often met by failures when playing chess. The key thing to note here is that good chess players learn from their mistakes. With every loss incurred, they are able to connect the dots with the errors that ultimately resulted in failure. This is why people who play chess build acumen to make clever judgments with other aspects in life by keeping the flaws in mind and studying the moves of the opponent. Great leaders are able to persevere and take accountability of their actions while assuring that the future is devoid of such errors.

2.     Enhances the Decision-Making and Execution Capabilities

A great leader is defined by the ability to take decisions and stand by them. After all, at the end of the day, ideas and plans require execution, which determines whether you will be able to have a consequential impact or not. Without execution and decision making skills, you can neither succeed in chess nor in leadership roles. The use of logic is essential to chess and leaders have to make rational decisions every single day. Playing chess regularly exercises the mind, enabling leaders to take action based upon thorough reflection.

3.     Be Proactive —Think Ahead of Time

A great quality of great leaders is that they are able to implement long-term planning. It is important to use strategies to achieve goals by mulling over consequential events that will be happening a few years down the road. Chess imprints such aptitude in the leaders —that is, the ability to be proactive and think ahead of time. Chess players have to plan ahead and they make maneuvers based upon the probable moves of the opponent. In the same fashion, leaders are able to judiciously anticipate the moves of the competition, which allows them to devise a better course of action.

4.     Compromise In Order to Gain

In chess, players often have to trade pieces in order to get the more valuable pieces of the opponent. Similarly, leaders also find themselves in situations where they have to succumb to gain superlative benefits in the near future. Through chess, leaders can learn the value of the important indicators that will ensure that minor setbacks are fine as long as you get to achieve better results in the future.

5.     Inspire Others to Greatness

One of the most admirable characteristic of a good leader is that he/she is able to decipher the weaknesses and shortcomings of the people under guidance. Just like in the game of chess you have to deliberate over to develop the pieces so that they can become a powerful resource, leaders also enable their subordinates to maximize their strengths and overcome their fears. So, chess players are able to become better leaders who are able to inspire other people to greatness.


7 Interesting Facts about Backgammon

Backgammon is one of the oldest board games that is still being played in various regions of the world. Now, backgammon is also popular in online gambling. However, not many people are aware of some interesting facts about this board game. Read on to quench your curiosity about this centuries old game.

1.     The Ancestor of Backgammon

Backgammon is an ancient game and it is believed that it may have been evolved from the Egyptian game called “Senet” —a board game with 30×10 squares. There is ambiguity related to Senet, which was played in 3000 BC with the roll of dice, it is assumed that many of the backgammon rules and principles were followed back then. According to some historians, the ancestor of backgammon could be “the Royal Game of Ur”, which originated in Mesopotamia in 2600 BC.

2.     The Oldest Version of Backgammon Unearthed to Reveal That It Was Played 5000 Years Ago

More than a decade ago, archaeologists discovered an ebony board with markers and ancient dice from the excavations of the Shahre-Sukhtehin in Iran. It was then discovered that that the game could indeed be older than the Royal Game of Ur and a variant of backgammon was played 5000 years ago during 3000 BC. The slots of this ancient board game are composed of a coiling serpent that coils around twenty times. The modern backgammon boards have 24 slots.

3.     Egyptians, Romans and the Greeks Played the Game

Boards belonging to 1500 BC resembling backgammon were found from the Egyptian tomb of King Tutankhamen. The Egyptians played the game for money and in order to avoid cheating they had developed a mechanical device for throwing the dice. Crossing the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, this variant of backgammon was also adopted by the Greeks and the Romans.

4.     The Catholic Church Banned Backgammon

During the sixteenth century, the Catholic Church banned backgammon and gave orders for the boards to be burned. However, the people resisted and started manufacturing foldable boards that resembled books. This is the time when backgammon started gaining popularity in the Great Britain. The hinged backgammon sets that you see today designed like briefcases and the foldable boards are an improved version of the sixteenth century boards.

5.     The Painters Documented Backgammon through Their Strokes

The painters from sixteenth century onwards started to capture the board game in their paintings. “The Triumph of Death” and “Game of Backgammon” are two of the most popular paintings of the sixteenth and seventeenth century respectively. Bosch also captured backgammon in his famous painting, “The Garden of Earthly Delights”.

6.     The Doubling Cube Made the Game Popular in the USA

The doubling cube was invented in the USA during 1920s by an anonymous backgammon enthusiast. The basic idea was that the stakes on the game could be doubled by any one of the two players. It was the doubling cube that suddenly increased the popularity of backgammon in the USA during the 1930s.

7.     The First International Backgammon Tournament

The first tournament of backgammon was organized in 1964. It was arranged by the Imperial Prince Alexis Obolensky. He was also the president of the Manhattan-based World backgammon Club.

Now that you know about the interesting facts about backgammon, you can boast about your backgammon knowledge. You can buy one of these amazing backgammon sets by Chess Baron and test your strategies and luck with the roll of dice.

Battle on Boards — 3 Intriguing Chess Sets to Add to Your Collection

A themed chess set is much more than a board game. It is an asset and an ornate show piece that will complete the décor of your gaming room or your library. But, have you ever imagined that a great chess set can also be a potential battleground. For a chess enthusiast, there is nothing better than a themed chess board that has chess pieces for famous historical figures of the past centering on battles of the past. Here are some of the chess sets that will intrigue you to redefine the past in an exhilarating game:

Crusader-Saladin Chess Set

Have you always been fascinated by the King’s Crusade—the most notable of all the medieval battles over the possession of the Holy Land? This Crusader-Saladin chess set has Richard the Lionhearted and his troops as ivory chess pieces whilst the formidable Saladin and his soldiers are crafted with exotic rosewood. King Richard is supported by the queen, bishops, knights, and castle turrets. Saladin, on the other hand, is accompanied by his wife, imams, archers, castles, and horsemen. Will Saladin manage to win the campaign against the Crusader army or will Richard the Lionhearted win the battle of Arsuf? Or is there a probability that you will sign a peace treaty with a draw?

Spanish Armada Chess Set

The Spanish Armada played an important role in popularizing the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Towards the culmination of the sixteenth century, the English fleet confronted the Spanish Armada. The English battalion is under the leadership of Queen Elizabeth I and Lord Howard of Effingham, the bishop of the Church and Sir Walter are the bishops. The opposing Spanish side is being governed by King Philip II and Anne of Austria alongside the guidance of Duke of Medina. The pawns of both the sides are represented in the form of well-crafted warships. If you have enjoyed reading about the Anglo-Spanish war, then the Spanish Armada chess set will definitely prove to be an unusual board game that will keep you on your toes as you make your maneuvers. Will the English side be able to defend the crown as it happened in the reality or will the Spanish conquer? Your strategic moves will decide the outcome of this intriguing game of chess.

Battle of Quebec Chess

The Battle of Quebec was fought during the period of the French and Indian War. During this battle, the French side lost against the British forces. This crucial battle was the decisive factor in the capitulation of the French to the British. The Battle of Quebec chess set has ivory-rosewood pieces. The French side is represented by Marquise de Montcalm as King and the major General Chevalier de Levis plays the role of the Queen. General James Wolfe is the English King and General Townesend is the opposing Queen.

These intriguing chess sets by Chess Baron are a captivating way to engage in a role-playing match of chess. So, what are you waiting for? Order your chess sets now and have enthralling matches with the emulation of the historical figures.


Laying Waste to Chess Guidelines

To be able to break a rule you need to know what it is. In chess, the rules to some are what define the game. How to open, how to move your pieces are things that dictate how the game is played. The rules in chess define the necessary steps and obligations that must be followed for a game to called chess.

The guidelines on the other hand are set standard practices developed by players former and current who present the best strategy to turn the tide of a game.

Certain Guidelines for Playing the Game of Chess

People who are still beginning to play chess as well as individual players still finding their feat in the game are often given guidelines on how to win a game of chess. Some of these guidelines are outlined below:

  • The game should be started with an e or d pawn.
  • Stay away from making too many pawn moves in the opening.
  • The game should be focused on getting control of the center of the chess board.
  • If you want to sacrifice a piece make sure it happens with good reason.
  • Keep the Queen in the shed for as long as possible.
  • Always look to make moves that either adds up to a threatening move or adds pressure of the opponent in the center field.
  • Keep at the very least one pawn in the center.

Breaking Guidelines is the new Guideline?

The guidelines mentioned above are written by a Reuben Fine, an American grand master and an expert in the game of chess and in understanding its rules and regulations. Unfortunately, irrespective of who writes a guideline for a game of chess, at the end of the day it’s a guideline, it is an opinion of one or more than one people. There have been several instances in history where players have been able to exhibit a blatant disregard for these guidelines.

The opening game between chess World Champions Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov-who were both regarded as the best all time chess players in the world- featured four pawn moves before castling. This is a violation of one of the guidelines presented but at the end of the day, these were two of the most successful chess players in history and they knew what they were doing in a game of chess.

There have been other instances in modern history where players have disregarded the guidelines on how to play a game of chess and yet end up on winning the game. The modern game of chess has developed laying waste to some of the guidelines that were once considered an essential part of the game.

The modern game for example has developed the Berlin defense as a plausible defense for black pieces. It is a widely regarded maneuver today despite the fact that does not involve castling of the main line. With time, the game has developed and players are more likely to disregard established guidelines of playing the game as long as they are able to win, because at the end of the day, chess like any other game is about winning.

Is a Chess Player’s Mind Different From Everyone else?

If you sit on a chess table against a master at chess, before you’ll know it, they’ll wrap the game up and leave you wondering what happened. Of course that is down to the years and years of practice and experience that they have developed over time. However, there is a perception that chess players owing to the nature of the game have stronger minds in comparison to the average Joe.

There have been studies to confirm that a chess player’s mind enjoys more activity than the normal players mind since a study conducted showed that children who had played chess for 18 weeks had a higher IQ score than those that didn’t. Here is a look at some of the aspects where a chess player’s mind pips that of an average person.

1  Smaller Brain

Having a small brain is considered a derogatory remark, but scientifically it’s actually a good thing. When the brains of chess players were scanned it turned out that the brains for chess players were smaller than non-players. A smaller brain is a representation of efficient working and expertise in the person’s behavior. As far as brains are concerned, bigger isn’t always better.

2  Think like a Computer

Chess is a game of strategy. The player needs to out think the opponent, predict their next move and develop an end game and a strategy even when they are still on their first few moves. According to the research conducted at the Carnegie Mellon University, people who play strategic games can start to think like computers, a phenomenon known as “computational thinking”. This means that the brain is trained to follow a set pattern of rules and take decisions when the decisions points arrive.

3  Helps develop critical thinking and advanced math

A number of researches have been concluded on whether or not children who learn chess at an early age are able to enjoy benefits off it. The study found that children who played were had better memory retention, spatial analysis and mathematical skills in comparison to other non chess playing students of the same age group.

4  Problem solving capabilities

When you are playing a game of chess, there is always a problem in front of you. The opponent is making moves to try and penetrate your defenses and as a chess player, you need to make offensive maneuvers while making sure that your defense aren’t compromised. Research conducted in Germany has found that chess masters use the frontal cortex of the brain when making chess moves. These players draw on previous experiences in problem solving to analyze and recognize the patterns while making decisions. In comparison the average person makes use of the temporal lobe area of the brain to solve problems and draw on past experiences.

At the end of the day, chess is just a game. Unlike most other games, the benefits of playing chess are more mental instead of physical. People who play chess are able to strengthen their thinking capabilities due to the nature and style of the game which sets their minds apart from the rest.

A Game to Settle Scores Between Two Super Powers

Tension between two countries, especially if they consider one another super powers, is only natural. Russia and America have been at logger heads in recent years, reminiscing memories of the Cold War era when the US was at logger heads with USSR, with both countries looking for opportunities in ‘one-ups-man-ship’.

Chess, a game that almost everyone around the world loves for its strategy and insight was once at the eye of the storm between the two super powers. It was back in 1972 when the Soviet chess champion faced off against a relatively unknown American chess player. The match which was being played on the board by one Bobby Fischer and on the Soviet side by one Boris Spassky was the first to be televised in the United States and millions turned up to watch the spectacle.

Setting the Agenda

The importance of that game of chess between two individuals representing their country was huge. It was dubbed the “match of the century”. The American won the game, and for the first time, chess was being used as a propaganda tool to sell the idea of a novice, eccentric American beating the Soviet machine.

That meant that the game of chess was being recognized world over even if it was because of the settling of scores and agenda setting being done by the two countries.

Why Chess?

The question most people ask about the use of chess as a game to settle scores between two super powers centers around the purpose of selection of the game. Why was it that out of tens of hundreds of sports, chess was chosen as the playground for the super powers to settle a score?

The answer to the question is available in history.

The USSR and its domination over the game of chess, made it more than a sport for the soviets. It was permeated by ideology. Throughout Soviet history, there have been examples of using Chess as a means to make a point politically.

The importance of political ideology in chess was clear back in 1981 when a Soviet chess champion, Boris Gulko was excluded from major sporting events by the USSR when he applied for immigration to Israel. When Boris was allowed to participate in the Moscow open he won and used the platform to expand on the need for the people in charge of the Soviet Union to let people immigrate, including the wife and son of a Chess Grand Master.

The use of chess by the two superpowers was because the Soviet had already established their dominance in the game and were confident of the success of their players against any and all challengers. They had witnessed chess being used for political ideologies before and wanted to do so at an international stage. On the other hand, the US was able to sense an opportunity to humiliate the Soviets by beating them at a game that they had grown fond of.

Yet, at the end of the day, the two super powers chose chess to settle their scores because unlike other sports that are about physical conditioning and strength, chess is a game about strategy, foresight and outsmarting your opponent— all things the two nations wanted to do to one another.


How Chess Can Help With Education

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. But what if the playing part can help with education? The game of chess makes an important contribution in the field of education, more than what the traditional wisdom of the experts is willing to acknowledge. A game of chess, despite concerning the movement of pieces is not all about winning or losing. Inherent in the game are the basic principles of learning. Pattern recognition, learning, reinforcement, decision making, memory retention, etc., are all aspects that are enhanced in a game of chess, one way of another.

Here is a look at some of the aspects that a game of chess may improve in a student’s learning capability.

1  Inculcates Logical Thinking

Being a logical thinker is a big plus in solving multiple situations throughout life, especially as far as education is concerned. The application of logic can go a long way in enhancing education experiences. In chess you have to put yourself in the opponent’s shoes to understand the moves that they are likely to make. Choosing moves on the board also requires logic and sharpens the mind’s decision making ability.

2  Conditioning of the Brain

Human learning is directly connected to the brain. The amount of human learning corresponds directly with the conditioning of the brain. For proper conditioning of the brain, it needs to act, obverse, and respond accordingly to the situation provided. A chess player does all of that on the board. They make a move, they wait for the opponent to make the move and observe the board once the move has been made. They analyze the pros and cons of each piece being moved before moving one.

All of this beefs up the thinking capacity of their brain. As a student now, a chess player can separate the important stuff from the unimportant ones, and can connect what they have learned to their practical life.

3  Enhanced Memory Capacity

When a person starts playing chess it may seem like at first like an annoying experience where you need to know the rules concerning each piece, how it can move, the guidelines, etc. Over time, a habitual player of chess will start to memorize the rules, the maneuvers that work well and the strategies that don’t. Multiple studies have shown that the brain is able to retain what it sees better than what it hears. This is why over time, chess players are able to memorize the visual aspects of the game faster.

Once a person is a regular or even habitual chess player, they are working on their memory day in and day out, giving it new scenarios to memorize, recalling past experiences to win a game, etc. The more a brain is worked, the better it performs and that is why the enhanced memory capabilities developed while playing a game of chess can then be transferred to other subjects.

Chess is a board game. Unlike most others, it is able to affect the brain on multiple levels which is why it can help improve the performance of the mind with regards to education.