Chess…”The Height of Decadence”

“Amberley excelled at chess—one mark, Watson, of a scheming mind”.  Sherlock Holmes in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story “The Adventure of the Retired Colourman”

Chess is a recreational and competitive board game played on a square chequered chessboard with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight square between two players who each control sixteen pieces.

Chess strategy is concerned with evaluation of chess positions and with setting up goals and long-term plans for the future play. During the evaluation, players must take into account numerous factors such as the value of the pieces on the board, control of the center and centralization, the pawn structure, king safety, and the control of key squares or groups of squares (for example, diagonals, open files, and dark or light squares).

José Raúl Capablanca y Graupera (19 November 1888 – 8 March 1942) was a Cuban chess player who was world chess champion from 1921 to 1927. One of the greatest players of all time, he was renowned for his exceptional endgame skill and speed of play.

Due to his achievements in the chess world, mastery over the board and his relatively simple style of play he was nicknamed the “Human Chess Machine

Chess is believed to have originated in Eastern India during the Gupta empire, where its early form in the 6th century was known as chaturaṅga (Sanskrit: four divisions [of the military] – infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariotry, represented by the pieces that would evolve into the modern pawn, knight, bishop, and rook, respectively).

The earliest evidence of chess is found in the neighboring Sassanid Persia around 600, where the game came to be known by the name chatrang. Chatrang is evoked in three epic romances written in Pahlavi (Middle Persian).

The game reached Western Europe and Russia by at least three routes, the earliest being in the 9th century. By the year 1000 it had spread throughout Europe. Introduced into the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors in the 10th century, it was described in a famous 13th-century manuscript covering shatranj, backgammon, and dice named the Libro de los juegos. Another theory contends that chess arose from the game xiangqi (Chinese chess) or one of its predecessors

Jennifer Shahade (born 31 December 1980) is an American chess Woman Grandmaster and writer. She is a two-time American women’s champion.

“Tournament chess is not relaxing. It’s stressful, even if you win”. JS – ChessBase.com – The strongest native-born American woman”(2003)

“I love chess, but it’s the height of decadence” – JS –
The King’s Gambit (2007)

Around 1200, the rules of shatranj started to be modified in southern Europe, and around 1475, several major changes made the game essentially as it is known today. These modern rules for the basic moves had been adopted in Italy and Spain. Pawns gained the option of advancing two squares on their first move, while bishops and queens acquired their modern abilities. The queen replaced the earlier vizier chess piece towards the end of the 10th century and by the 15th century had become the most powerful piece;[36] consequently modern chess was referred to as “Queen’s Chess” or “Mad Queen Chess”

Yochanan Afek (born 16 April 1952 in Tel Aviv) is an Israeli chess player, composer, trainer and arbiter. He is the only person to possess an international titles at four different facets of chess, being an International Master, International Master of chess compositions, International Arbiter and International Arbiter of chess compositions.

“I achieved more than I could dream of in chess and in chess composing”. YA – interview with Tibor Károlyi, Genius in the Background (2009)

Chess Records was an American record company based in Chicago, Illinois.

It specialized in blues, R&B, soul, gospel music, early rock and roll, and occasional jazz recordings, released on several labels including Chess, Checker, Argo and Cadet.

Formed and run by Polish immigrant brothers Leonard and Phil Chess, the company produced and released many important singles and albums, which are now regarded as central to the rock music canon. Musician and critic Cub Koda described Chess Records as “America’s greatest blues label.”

The first release on Chess was the 78 RPM single “My Foolish Heart” b/w “Bless You” by Gene Ammons, which was released as Chess 1425 in June 1950, and became the label’s biggest hit of the year

Chess the Musical

Chess is a musical with music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, formerly of ABBA, and with lyrics by Tim Rice.

The story involves a romantic triangle between two top chess players, an American and a Russian, in a world chess championship, and a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other; all in the context of a Cold War struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union, during which both countries wanted to win international chess tournaments for propaganda purposes. Although the protagonists were not intended to represent any specific individuals, the character of the American was loosely based on chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer,while elements of the story may have been inspired by the chess careers of Russian grandmasters Viktor Korchnoi and Anatoly Karpov.

The Daily Telegraph wrote that the show was “gift-wrapped and gorgeous…compels admiration,” The Times noted that “it turns out to be a fine piece of work that shows the dinosaur mega-musical evolving into an intelligent form of life” and Today called it “gripping, eye-catching.. nearly a major triumph”.

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