Playing Chess - A Way Of Life?

by David Powers

One of the most popular board games today originated within Europe many centuries ago. It's a game that humanity can truly enjoy. It does not impose any gender, nationality or age restrictions on its players. It's a crowd drawer in local and national matches. Royal members love it, and so does the ordinary man of the street. The game..? Your hunch is as good as mine: Chess!

From music and composition to art and literature, chess is well liked as ever. Media packages it like a religion, literature has featured it and it can be spotted in just about all books, newspapers and articles (just like this one!) that you can care to mention. Its immense popularity has given rise to a figure of speech everyone is familiar with: checkmate.

The Media:

For ardent chess aficionados, the volume of media material is awesome. Authors of "who dunnits" discuss the game, using the mind game strategies, and cutting-edge analysis used by chess gurus as a basis for story plots. Today, the term "chess" exudes the same attraction factor as "free." Chess is a marketing magnet in the virtual and real worlds.

Many concur. There's something about "chess" that sounds really adorable. In the field of religion, chess is often used as a metaphor for goodness vs. wickedness. If hard rock concerts have their fans, chess has its mob of true-blue aficionados too!

Performing Arts:

Many players are enticed by the drama of the game; the game involves turn taking. Players follow a sequence, an arrangement that is somewhat like give and take. Call it a show, a dramatic show if you want but a great deal of concentration is involved. The sovereign, guarded by all his subjects, plays the key role, which leads to the grand finale: to checkmate the opposing king.

On the stage or on the dance floor, you can also witness glimpses of chess in action. As music plays, the dancers imitate some common game plans in an actual chess match.


In the realm of arts, chess is also a favourite subject of masterpieces in both contemporary and traditional forms. Often the pieces, queens, bishops, knights and pawns are depicted in oil paintings, in stark ebony and ivory squares, against medieval backdrops, flags, buntings and ladies and gentlemen bedecked in their finery surrounding the board, despite the fact that the game is really for just two people.

The British Museum is home to an elegant exhibit of ivory chess pieces. These old-fashioned, priceless pieces are all rich in detail and impressive in workmanship. The ivory beauties date back to the 7th century. They were reportedly the handiwork of Turkish artisans.

Even though ivory is hard to come by, history documents a time when ivory chess sets equalled the volume of their wooden and porcelain counterparts. Today of course, an ivory chess set is not that common anymore. If you have one (check the attic) phone in your insurance company right away!