A Tale of Two Chess Boards
Many games today have moved into a digital format and are experienced in the comfort of your own home. Even a game like football has become a console phenomenon, with sales going through the roof and children spending more time in front of their computers than outdoors kicking a ball.
However, the experience of winning an online football match and scoring a goal in real life is very different. For starters, in real life both physical and mental abilities are needed for success, and this holistic approach to fun means a better experience for the entire human organism. Also, you’re in a real team, so you can’t just turn off the game when things don’t go your way. But what would happen if we compared the real and virtual environments of chess, where it seems the experience of the game is similar in both?
Well, it’s more complex than it looks.
Because of the rules and appearance of chess, the game can easily be transposed onto a computer. Despite this, there are manifest differences between playing virtual chess and playing on a board in front of you.
By Seth Stoll via CC BY-SA 2.0
• Variation of the learning progress – playing on a wooden chess board provides a lot of diversity in the whole learning experience. A child can play at any time with family or friends and the progress will come naturally without any negative outside influence.
• The wooden game is a great experience – if you have never played a chess match on a real wooden board, you are missing out. A wooden game is a very different experience from a virtual one because the player has to actually move pieces, touch them and see his opponent in front of him do the same, making the player focus and feel pressure, which is part of the experience – if you win, that pressure becomes satisfaction, if you lose – it becomes motivation to be even better the next time.
• You are more social “together” behind the chess board – a game of chess can easily become a family thing, playing a mini tournament in the evenings just to chat and talk about the day. Chess is also a great game to play when meeting with friends, catching up and socializing, it is a great alternative to checking your phone every ten seconds.
• You can play the real game of Chess or play other nice mini-games – if you have a wooden chess board, there are more things you can do from simply playing a match. For example you can place the pieces to represent a situation in a chess game and let your children solve it, or you can use only two or three pieces and see your child try to navigate and take all of them with another piece. These are just two examples of mini games with a wooden chess board, and if you would like to practice with your child more – there is a great article, which covers many more mini games.
Click here to read more about Chess mini games.
• 3D is better than 2D - when you do play chess over the board, you will come to realize that the positions look different than on the 2 dimensions of your screen. The 3D experience is very important for cognitive function and orientation, in real life it is actually more difficult to spot certain moves or patterns, so the experience requires attention, concentration and focus. All these things are being stimulated during a real life game and the benefits from it are also more evident. While there are many opinions whether some games are better played on the computer or in real life, the current 2D versions of chess online appear to be easier to understand, since the player can see the board from directly above and in most cases – the opponent is also not visible, so the player becomes
By Seth Stoll via CC BY-SA 2.0
But on the other hand, real life chess is played with an opponent sitting in front and this can be either beneficial from a social perspective or intimidating, especially if it’s a stranger, since you don’t know what to expect, what attitude the opponent has or how will he or she react to your moves.
In most cases, chess players win more often when playing in front of a computer screen, however, the virtual option is still far away from the experience, fun and social benefits of a real life chess match.
Has anyone experienced the difference between playing chess online and on a wooden board?
Which do you prefer?