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People’s Play

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Chess, one of the oldest and most popular board game we ever known. Played since about 1500 years ago, chess have became a single most iconic symbol of board game (even for those who got no clue whatsoever about board game). Known as chaturanga in ancient India, it is believed to be the predecessor to several variations of game, xiangqi (Chinese chess), shogi (Japan), and of course modern chess as we know it today. Started more than a millennia ago, chess survived many ages and became an internationally well known, and professionally acknowledged game. Some might even say that “nothing lasts forever, except maybe chess”. What makes it so good?

Many discussions will bring us to some suggestions about why chess is so great. The gameplay is easy to learn and hard to master, applying merely simple rules of movement resulting in so much possibility of endings and game progressions (there are about 16 billiont different endings in a regular 30 move game). Another point of view will tell us how playing chess trains us to be better in problem solving, analyzing situations, and calculating possibilities. Lots and lots of theories will show us how great chess is as a game.

But even a great game can be rendered useless without a vital thing, something that particularly important in chess as a one on one game. It is an opponent player, especially a formidable one, someone that gives you the thrill of playing, makes you asked for one more game when you lose, and gives you the enriching satisfaction of victory.

Among many other things that makes a great game, a challenging opponent is still an irreplaceable element. Improvement on artificial intelligence isn’t even close enough to replace the depth of a human player’s way of playing. The gameplay design and dynamic of a game can be a key point for a good game, but what makes gaming so great is the human involvement, for each and every player will give you a different perceptions and different approaches in play. The game itself might be evolved into something totally different, but it won’t matter, for it is nothing but a tool. It’s just another way of interacting one with another, a way to engage interactions between people, a people’s play.

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