Checkmate occurs when your king cannot move without being captured.
It marks the end of the game of chess — and your goal is to checkmate the other player first. If you fail, you are checkmated. If you both fail and only two kings remain, stalemate occurs.
I lost my first few games. I was a teenager and my parents had given me a chess set. I played with friends and, later, in the high school chess club. I slowly discovered tips to win: move this piece first, counter that move with this move, watch the other person’s eyes and hands, listen for whispered mutters.
Chess Grandmaster Boris Gelfand believes the game of chess can solve global problems.
“The ability to concentrate, focus, think ahead, respect rules, and devote yourself to one thing and think deeply… these are all things which are missing in society but which chess has in abundance… I have met many successful people from different professions: scientists, lawyers, business people. They all say that the values that they learned playing chess as children helped them to achieve in later life.”
In this spirit I changed the home page of my blog over the weekend. If you visit it today you will see a large up-close photograph of a pawn, rook, and knight with other chess pieces in the background.
I shot the photo a few years ago in a Berkshires resort while celebrating Mom’s birthday. I was into macrophotography of flower petals at the time and wondered how pawns would display.
The photo’s been on my Twitter page for some time; and I feel it’s apropos to bring to my blog.
It’s been a few years since I played but I respect what Gelfand means by focus, rules, and deep devotion as social aspects of chess that the world lacks. The pawn, knight, rook, bishop, queen, and king serve unique roles; and any piece can place the king into checkmate (or stalemate). I should add that digital media is a chess game, too.
Here’s an excellent documentary of Grandmaster Susan Polgar.
The game ends with checkmate.
But I’m not there yet.
Let’s keep playing. I’ll keep writing new blog posts and you’ll keep reading, commenting, and sharing. Sound good?