## Chess and Checkers

When I was in High School, and just beginning to understand the theories of chess, an old man came to visit us at the table. This episode probably then happened a park.

He watched with some intensity, as I and my opponent were engrossed in our game. After the game ended (I think I won), he asked, almost with a sneer, “so what is the difference between checkers and chess?”

I didn’t exactly why he was asking this question. But I gave him my best answer and replied, “Chess is more complicated”.

With that, the old turned around and departed. Maybe he thought I was rude and me being a male teenager, that may be true. Or is because he didn’t expect the conversation to go that way. Or he may have thought he has interacting with younger teens (after all, when I was 14 I could still pass for a 12 year-old).

So, I got to thinking, what are differences between chess and checkers. And I drew up a list. Which I promptly lost. But I remember most of it. And now with the magic of the Internet, and blogging in particular, here is my list (corrected for spelling and grammar).

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WHAT IS THE SAME

The boards are identical in size (8 x 8).

Each board has 64 squares.

A man moving to the 8th rank is promoted.

It is a game usually played by only two competitors.

WHAT IS DIFFERENT

Checkers is played on a red and black board. Chess is typically played on a white and black board.

In checkers, each player starts with only 12 men. In chess, each player starts with 16 men.

In checkers, all the men look the same, move the same way, and are of equal value. In chess, the pieces look different, move differently, and are worth different values.

In checkers, Black moves first. In chess, White moves first.

In checkers, a man reaching the 8th rank can only be promoted to a King. In chess, a man reaching the 8th rank can be promoted to a Queen, a Rook, a Bishop, or a Knight. But never to a King.

In checkers, players use only 32 squares of the board. In chess, both players use all 64 squares.

In checkers, players may only move their men diagonally. In chess, players may move their pieces diagonally, forward, backwards, and horizontally.

In checkers, a player captures a man by jumping over them. In chess, a player can capture a man by occupying their place on the board.

In checkers, only a king can move backwards. In chess, Knights, Bishops, Rooks, Queens, and Kings can move backwards. Pawns are the only units that may only move forward.

In chess, there are rules for en passant and castling. No such rules exist for checkers.

In checkers, captures are mandatory. In chess, players may decline a capture.

In checkers, openings are decided by lot. In chess, opening play is determined by the players.

And for us chess enthusiasts:

Chess has a high cultural value. People equate us chess players as possessing great intelligence, a fantastic memory, and in its purest form; grace.

It is possible to be a prodigy in math, music, or chess.

Two examples;

Frank Brady wrote “Bobby Fischer: Profile of a Prodigy”.

Wikipedia has an article titled, “Chess Prodigy”.

No checkers player has ever been known or labeled as a prodigy.

## More Than a Chess Game

Most of my friends know I love to play chess. And I actually do play a (very) good game.

But there are other aspects of chess that one can enjoy that go way beyond than just moving the white and black pieces.

It is a pursuit into the unknown, and possibly the unknowable.

It can be a discipline, even a definition. For the egotist, it is a way demonstrate (or at least to brag about) their own, self-proclaimed, intelligence.

Governments have used it as a propaganda tool to push forward their agenda, with various degrees of success.

In art, literature, and music, it is often used a metaphor; something to celebrate, wonder, or ponder. It can expand the mind, making a work of art something even better.

The last area is one I love to indulge myself.

Three of the most popular songs recorded in the numerous decades since the beginning of the pop culture (circa 1950’s) are the following:

[Chess to further illustrate a literacy piece (or as some suggested, a drug experience)]

“White Rabbit”

By The Jefferson Airplane

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don’t do anything at all
When she’s ten feet tall

And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you’re going to fall
Tell ’em a hookah-smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call
Call Alice
When she was just small

When the men on the chessboard
Get up and tell you where to go
And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving low
I think she’ll know

When logic and proportion
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen’s off with her head
Remember what the dormouse said

[Chess as a metaphor for the complexities of loving relationship]

“I’ve Seen All Good People”

by Yes

I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day
So satisfied I’m on my way
I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day
So satisfied I’m on my way

Take a straight and stronger course
to the corner of your life
Make the white queen run so fast
she hasn’t got time to make you a wife

‘Cause it’s time, it’s time in time with your time
and its news is captured
for the queen to use!
Move me on to any black square
Use me anytime you want
Just remember that the goal
Is for us all to capture all we want
(Move me on to any black square)

Don’t surround yourself with yourself
Move on back two squares
Send an instant karma to me
Initial it with loving care
(Don’t surround yourself)

‘Cause it’s time, it’s time in time with your time
and its news is captured
for the queen to use!

Diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit didda
Diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit didda
(Don’t surround yourself with yourself)

Don’t surround yourself with yourself
(Don’t surround yourself)
Move on back two squares
Send an instant karma to me
(Send an instant karma to me)
Initial it with loving care
(Don’t surround yourself)

‘Cause it’s time, it’s time in time with your time
and its news is captured
for the queen to use!

Diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit didda (All we are saying)
Diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit didda (Is give peace a chance)
Diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit didda (All we are saying)
Diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit didda (Is give peace a chance

‘Cause it’s time, it’s time in time with your time
and it’s news is captured…

(Part II – All Good People)

I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day
So satisfied I’m on my way

I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day
So satisfied I’m on my way…

[Chess as a metaphor for the internal conflict of an individual or the conflicts between an individual and society. This song has both.]

“One Night in Bangkok”

Bangkok!, Oriental setting.
And the city don’t know that the city is getting
The creme de la creme of the chess world in a
Show with everything but Yul Brynner

Time flies, doesn’t seem a minute
Since the Tirolean spa had the chess boys in it
All change, don’t you know that when you
Play at this level there’s no ordinary venue
It’s Iceland or the Philippines or Hastings or, or this place!

One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free
You’ll find a god in every golden cloister
And if you’re lucky then the god’s a she
I can feel an angel sliding up to me

One town’s very like another
It’s a drag, it’s a bore, it’s really such a pity
To be looking at the board, not looking at the city

Whaddya mean? Ya seen one crowded, polluted, stinking town
Tea, girls, warm and sweet
Some are set up in the Somerset Maugham suite

Get Thai’d! You’re talking to a tourist
Whose every move’s among the purest
I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can’t be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me

Siam’s gonna be the witness
To the ultimate test of cerebral fitness
This grips me more than would a
Muddy old river or reclining Buddha
And thank God I’m only watching the game, controlling it

I don’t see you guys rating
The kind of mate I’m contemplating
I’d let you watch, I would invite you
But the queens we use would not excite you
So you better go back to your bars

One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free
You’ll find a god in every golden cloister
A little flesh, a little history
I can feel an angel sliding up to me

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can’t be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me.

Do you know of any more? I would love to hear from you! =)