Dating back 1,500 years to the Gupta Empire of India (600 CE) and possibly even having roots in ancient Egypt, chess has challenged chumps and champs alike the world over for generations.
Indeed, chess has a long history.
But what does the future hold for the ancient game of chess?
Sure, many high schools still have chess teams, and many a-park table, like the one I spotted above at Smithville Park, provide open-air chessboards, but will chess survive for future centuries, let alone the next decade?
In modern times, visiting a high school, a park, or most other public places reveals endless streams of individuals interacting with their cell phones, and not taking part in “old-fashioned” pursuits like chess or checkers, let alone conversation. You know how people are, and I am certainly guilty of phone-focusing on occasion, too.
Chess is a thinking-person’s game that can take patience, perseverance, and pedantry to succeed. These are not adjectives typically associated with today’s world. (Speaking of which– congrats, and THANK YOU, for reading this far… that’s a feat in and of itself in today’s hyper-distracted society!)
Furthermore, older adults, who perhaps stereotypically have favored chess, now have many other pastimes to pursue, ranging from pinochle to pickleball to, heck, PS3 games.
So what’s next for the venerable game of chess?
I doubt that there will ever be a famous chess player that can garner widespread interest in the activity in the way that Tiger Woods did for golf, Megan Rapinoe did for women’s soccer, or J.K. Rowling did for young readers.
Instead, perhaps, it will be technology that will bring people in. Virtual reality chess could be fun, where you can design your own pieces and compete with anybody in the world at the same board in front of you. Kind of like that Star Wars chess game “dejarik” where competitors use holographic creatures as their pieces. How cool would that be?
Whatever the case, I hope the game continues to be played by many future generations.
If only because I don’t look forward to just staring at a cell phone all day when I’m older.