Power Play: The Story Behind a Chess Kingdom

In a game of chess, why is the queen more powerful than the king, when in history we have seen that the king was the leader? If you have played chess with your children, they will have asked you about this situation or they will have been puzzled without saying it. Do you know why this female piece is the most powerful even though it didn't even exist in the past?

King and queen: same war, role of different importance

Easy to learn but difficult to master, chess is one of the world's oldest and most popular board games that challenges the mind in every way, recognized as a classic sport for intellectuals, but at At the same time suitable for any fan, where most believe that its origins go back thousands of years in India or Asia. Although chessboards have sometimes become fantastic pieces of art and decoration that bring elegance to almost any home or now transformed into fun through virtual means such as mobile phone applications or console and computer video games, it endures above all as a classic game of skill and strategy, with very diverse combinations and possibilities. The game consists of 64 squares on an 8x8 board where 16 pieces are placed at each end to represent each opposing side; for each team there is: 1 king, 1 queen, 2 rooks, 2 bishops, 2 knights and 8 pawns that have a defined position.

Believe it or not, knowing how the game was played before can teach your kids a lot about the history behind those who created and played it. If you stop thinking about the chess pieces and how it is played, you will see how the game reflects a minimized version of life in feudal times. Characters such as the knight, rook, bishop and pawn represent how part of society was in medieval times and how important warfare was. You may find that your children are passionate about learning more!

In ancient times, the chessboard of India-Persia-Islam, known as “Chaturanga” (4-division battle formation, mentioned in one of the works of literature Sanskrit titled “Mahabharata”, which refers to elephants, war chariots, cavalry and infantry), lacked a queen altogether and included only male figures, the “vizier” being the closest thing to what now it is, and this change seems to have happened until the fifteenth century due to the transformations in cultures, caused by the Arab invasion of Europe and the Christianization of the game, as it took root in lands dominated by the idea of ​​a woman as help for a Christian king. The primitive queen was far from the icon of power that she represents today; in fact, 10th-century chess rules declared the queen as even more powerless than the king, since she was able to move only one step diagonally in any direction. So… how did the queen become so powerful?

Queen: Seizing Power

The distribution of power among the board royalty is contrary to historically documented logic. In this game, the goal is to capture the king, so this makes it the most valuable piece of all and, ironically, the most powerless and cowardly, while the queen is the most powerful but expendable if eliminated. The king can only move one space in any direction and cannot be in the space adjacent to the opposing side's king. On the other hand, the queen is placed next to the king at the beginning of the game and can move the desired number of spaces in all directions, as long as there is no other piece that obstructs its path, although of course, if the piece is from the opposing team , you can capture it directly.

So, we can say that the queen was born out of the gender politics associated with the war between Christianity and Eastern cultures, gaining even more power with the traditions of queen rule in Europe

Rey: Vulnerability despite being a priority

Why is the chess king so vulnerable, relative to his female partner and the rest of the pieces?

Queens may have had greater power in Europe than in other parts of the world, and chess may have been a tool to use gender as a cultural marker for the identity of the civilization at the time where many men perceived women as powerful figures who, even without wielding a sword, could shatter them and break their efforts at authority, despite the perception of men as natural, burly leaders.

Community: competitiveness in the contemporary world

Human beings are competitive by nature, and chess naturally became an even more competitive sport than it was when, in the 19th century, the romantic era of chess gave way to a more modern era, major tournaments were held throughout Europe and the world, leading to the creation of strict rules for the games and even the use of stopwatches at a professional level.

You will be surprised to know that the chess community is very large and its players really love the game all over the world, in person and virtually. Chess games have become so serious that the level of tension in a professional game is no longer a simple game and even a human barometer seems necessary, but don't worry, this is not normal in this game. You can teach your children to play it and, perhaps, if they are really passionate about it, they can compete one day, however, you will see how much they learn with games of this type that develop their abilities, their level of observation and focus their thoughts.

As you can see, the history of chess is fascinating to learn, even for our children! Make sure you teach them the basics so they can figure it out on their own with practice and time. Let's play!

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