Chess is perhaps one of the most universally known board games of all time. No matter who you are or where you’re from, it is highly likely you have heard of the game before, and for good reason. The game is more than 1,500 years old, and is one of the best ways to practice critical thinking skills.

What appears to be a game full of complex strategies and tactics is actually one of simplicity. Each player, making one move at a time, uses six unique game pieces to maneuver around a board of 64 squares of alternating colors. It is in this simplicity that chess finds a sort of beauty. Whether you are brand new to the game or a seasoned grandmaster, there are many reasons why you should pick up your board and play.

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Develop critical thinking

Chess is a game of action and reaction. When your opponent makes a move, you not only need to understand their intentions behind the move, but also need to predict what future moves they will make.

In addition to this, you yourself need to think many moves in advance in order to effectively outwit your opponent. This action of projecting your moves in advance is a necessary component in critical thinking. Training this attribute can have a large impact on your life as forethought is one of the most useful traits a college student can have.

Whether you are planning out your week, setting aside time to study or even planning what to buy at the grocery store, thinking in advance is always a plus, and playing chess is a great way to help your mind grow in this skillset.

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Artistic representations

Chess is not only a board game. It is also a unique theme in many interesting works of art. What is maybe the most recent of these is Netflix’s new miniseries “The Queen’s Gambit.”

The series tells the story of fictional chess player Elizabeth Harmon, who becomes the best player in the world by using a unique ability to vividly picture a chessboard on the ceiling of any room she is in. Using this ability, she defeats the reigning world chess champion as well as a number of other elite players. The show is captivating not only because of its ties to chess, but because of the intriguing way chess affects the life of the show’s main character, leaving her in pursuit of love and happiness.

TV shows aside, chess is an artistic wonder all on its own. Typical chess sets are crafted of either wood or plastic, but other sets are crafted in a more artisanal style. Chess sets are cast of all sorts of ornate materials such as glass, metal, stone and even gold. The average set can cost anywhere from $10-20, but more unique sets can cost thousands. These beautiful sets are unique in the way that they are one of the few pieces of art that are truly made to be interacted with, creating an immersive artistic experience for the player.

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It’s just plain fun

While chess may have a reputation of being dull and dry to the outsider, the informed chess player knows the game can have many moments of excitement to it. Nothing beats the feeling of pulling off a calculated checkmate on an unsuspecting opponent or taking a valuable piece off the board. In a similar vein, narrowly escaping the advances of your opponent brings the thrilling feeling of the chase that can only be had through chess.

It really is a fun game that pulls you in quickly. The beginning player will soon find themselves enveloped in the game, learning new strategies, finding new ways to open the game and becoming stronger as a player overall. For this reason, chess is one of the most fun board games out there.