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Chess is a brain-stimulating game that takes practice, skill, and a good board to play on.
We spoke to an expert at the US Chess Federation on what you should look for.
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I grew up in a chess-playing household. My father put his woodworking skills to good use and built a chess table for us to play on, we purchased multiple collectors’ sets online, and we even equipped ourselves with a tournament-style chess timer.
With the recent interest in chess stemming from the
miniseries “Queen’s Gambit,” I was inspired to look back at the chess-playing days of my youth ！ at how I got started, and the types of chess sets and boards I played on. While I can’t relate to Beth Harmon’s dysfunctional upbringing in the show, I know exactly what it feels like to fall in love with the game and to get my first chess set.
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“Chess is a sport, a science, and an art ！ you can play it all your life and never exhaust its depths,” said John Hartmann, the editor of Chess Life Magazine, part of the US Chess Federation, the governing board of chess tournaments in the US. “It’s good for learning self-control and the consequences of one’s actions and, for those who spend a bit of time learning how to play, there’s plenty of beauty and aesthetic pleasure to be found in the game.”
There are chess academies that teach the game, but one place to get started is actually online.
“The best way to help children learn chess right now is from YouTube videos or chesskid.com,” Hartmann said. “I would also recommend the Chess Steps (or Stappemethode) and Coach Jay’s workbooks as being excellent for young learners, provided they have an adult to help them.”
If the show has piqued your interest in this highly challenging game, or you want a new hobby that stimulates the brain, give chess a try. Whether you’re a beginner or, like me, you’re looking to get back into the game, here are some great chess sets to get started.