Chess has attracted a growing number of adherents in its 1,500 years or so of existence.

Virtually every country in the world has chess players and a chess federation.

Electronic games come and go, but chess continues to gain popularity.

As a camp leader for nine years, I’ve learned that the game is simply contagious.

When I arrived at a New Hampshire summer camp in early July, only two among 40 boys knew how to
play the game. Within two weeks, everyone was playing – with no special effort from me. The game
spread like wildfire among the youths.

I witnessed a similar phenomenon when I conducted chess programs in Long Island, N.Y.,
elementary and middle schools in the late ’70s. Shortly after we started, it seemed that everyone –
especially the boys – wanted to play.

Stacks of quotations extol the game; only a few disparage it.

The poet, writer and philosopher Goethe called chess the “touchstone of the intellect.”

His more down-to-earth countryman Siegbert Tarrasch, a physician and superb player, observed
that “Chess – like love, like music – has the power to make men happy.”

Why the game wields such magnetism has yet to be adequately explained.

Shelby Lyman is a Basic Chess Features columnist.


Beginner’s corner

Hint explanation:

The b6 square is pivotal.

Solution to Beginner’s corner:

1. Nb6! gets the rook. If Qxb6,

2. Ba5! wins the queen.


How the masters play

Below is a win by Alexander Onischuk against Andrei Volokitin from the German Bundesliga team



Black resigns