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Toy of the week: Chess, Checkers and Backgammon


Week 4 of Quarantine, and I gotta say I'm not one for home workouts, but I am one for brain workouts! Your brain is like a muscle: the more you work it, the better and stronger it becomes! Time to get to that mental gym and work it out with some chess, checkers or backgammon.

These games as so classic they have been around since ancient times. I'm pretty sure the pharaohs used to play these games, I'm certain Aristotle played these games and for sure Einstein definitely has played them... Boy I wish I had a time machine to go back and play chess with them. Maybe that's not the best use of a time machine...

But anyways, archeologists get to go back in time. Not exactly with a time machine but they do discover fossils and artifacts. Backgammon is actually about 5000 years old! It was unearthed in what used to be known as Mesopotamia. It wasn't always called backgammon though. Other games which used the same type of board were Senet and Mancala. The Romans were the first to make it truly popular with their version called "Duodecum Scripta et Tabulae" or "Tables" for short. (or as the Greeks call it "Tavli") Backgammon involves a combination of strategy and luck (from rolling dice). With each turn, players must choose from numerous options for moving their pieces and anticipate possible counter-moves by the opponent.

Enough about history, I thought we were going to the Brain gym? Yes right, see how my brain wonders in isolation... So Backgammon, Chess and Checkers are all brain trainers. Especially Chess which is a game of war and strategy. While you try to defend your king you also have to think about cornering the other player's king. Did you know it could also improve your math skills? It's true! Do you know how many squares there are on a chess board? Using simple math you can find out! Leave a comment bellow with your answer and please no cheating.

Checkers, also known as Draughts, is somewhat similar, using the same board as Chess, although much simpler to learn because the pieces generally only move in one direction. I say generally because once you reach the end of the board (your opponent's side) you can get "kinged" and then that piece can move in any direction. This is a great strategy game for beginners who can then move on to learn and play Chess.

There are so many benefits to playing these classic games. I guess that's why they are still popular all these years. They are fun, secretly educational and a great way to socialize with like minded people! So when you are done with your physical workout, sit down, relax, and train your brain on these classic games!

On that note, stay home, stay safe and don't forget to Play Together and Play Forever (even virtually)!


Written by Joanna Felemegos


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