Sunday, April 15, 2012

Chess anyone?

Do you remember playing chess with your father or grandfather as a kid? I do, and those memories are some of the best. I was a slow learner, but after I caught on to the game I was constantly vying with my brothers for a chance to play against dad.

Many of us don't have family members or friends who play chess, but it was once a very common activity. If you are interested in learning to play or already know how to play, you are invited to enjoy an afternoon of chess: 2:30 p.m. Sat., April 21, at the Warrenton Library.

Bring a chess set if you have one available. Call (540) 422-8500, ext. 6862, to reserve a table - we want to make sure there are enough chess boards and partners. Light snacks and beverages will be provided courtesy of the Friends of the Fauquier Library.

In the meantime, you can explore some of our books on this game, which is so much more than a pass-time. You'll discover that chess has been influential from a political and historical perspective if you read The Immortal Game: A History of Chess, Or How 32 Carved Pieces on a Board Illuminated Our Understanding of War, Art, Science, and the Human Brain by David Shenk.

You might want to read a little about some of the great chess competitions of the past and for that I recommend Bobby Fischer Goes to War: The True Story of How the Soviets Lost the Most Extraordinary Chess Match of All Time by David Edmonds and John Eidinow.

Or, if you like trying to outsmart computers, read The Turk: The Life and Times of the Famous Eighteenth-Century Chess-Playing Machine by Tom Standage.

To bring the game home to the present and find out how chess playing probably produced the first geeks read Game of Kings: A Year Among the Geeks, Oddballs, and Geniuses Who Make Up America’s Top High School Chess Team by Michael Weinreb.

Chess strategies also have useful parallels and applications in the conduct of business and daily life as you will see if you check out Every Move Must Have a Purpose: Strategies From Chess for Business and Life by Bruce Pandolfini or Chess For Success: Using An Old Game to Build New Strengths in Children and Teens by Maurice Ashley.

And chess has inspired some interesting fiction. Teens might like Checkmate by Walter Dean Myers or The Eight by Katherine Neville.

When you are ready to plunge right in and start playing the game you should have a copy of the official rules handy: U.S. Chess Federation’s Official Rules of Chess.

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