Game board and chess pieces suddenly fly up into the air, my masterful strategy which was so close to a check-mate, now a mid-air disaster. My older brother stomps out of the room, having yet again thwarted any satisfaction I may have had in beating him at Chess. He was a sore loser, but even though I never actually won against him, my love of the game endured. Under normal circumstances, playing two player strategy games are very satisfying with pretty good 50/50 odds.
Lady luck vs grey matter
Some players prefer the thrill of courting lady luck when playing board games, while others would rather make their own luck using pure grey matter and gut instincts. One strategy game that also includes an element of luck is Backgammon which has been around for thousands of years. Each player moves a set of 15 “men” around and off the board based on dice throws, while making strategic decisions about which “men” to move based on these outcomes.
Draughts or Checkers is another classic game that developed from an ancient game. It’s pure abstract strategy and can be played in around 30 minutes or so. For a greater mental and physical challenge, you can’t go past the master of all two-player strategy games—Chess.
Chess is a sport
A great Chess player has not only skilfully mastered the rules and tactics, but can predict future moves in great depth based on probable outcomes. Patience, concentration and intuition are also helpful traits, but don’t despair – all these skills can be developed through training and practice.
After all, it’s now a recognised sport according to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). FIDE (fee-day) is the governing body which organises World Chess Championships and Chess Olympiads, where you could become an International Grandmaster (or the female equivalent).
Chess at the Olympics
Although FIDE introduced mandatory drug testing and made a good case, Chess was not approved as an Olympic sport for the 2016 games, although golf and rugby sevens were. To be accepted, a sport needs to be popular, universal, transparent, fair and have good governance. Chess meets all of these criteria (unless playing with a sore loser), so it’s unclear why it wasn’t approved. There’s nothing in the criteria about the level of exertion that needs to be applied during the sport, and besides, any Chess player will tell you that you need a great deal of stamina to survive a long game of Chess. So maybe it will be approved for 2020? What do you think the odds are?