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.
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