This must be one of the more interesting news in my RSS reader. Hip hop and online chess mixing together. Or more precisely, if you’re a fan of hip hop music, and you like playing chess online, then playing chess and getting your dose of hip hop; does that sound like fun? Well, that’s the piece of news on the collaboration between Wu-Tang Clan and an online chess site, ChessPark, called WuChess.
For those who didn’t realize it yet, chess is big online. In fact chess is one of the main reasons for a large number of people to go online, everyday. How do I know that? Well, at any given time in 24 hours there are many tens of thousands of people at various online chess sites – playing chess. These games can get pretty intense, and it’s not uncommon to have some people playing for hours on end – everyday. Did I say it can become addictive?
Chess at its core is a serious game. Not everyone has the temperament to play chess, which may explain why 80% of chess players are men. Some people find chess a little too serious for their liking. But ask any doctor and they will all say chess is a very good mental exercise.
In technology, chess is regarded as a good fit for artificial intelligence development, and many AI researchers have always used chess intelligence as a benchmark. In the war between man and machine, it is a widely held view that machines have already won the war. Bear in mind, many chess programs can now calculate millions of positions per second, depending on the hardware they run on. Today, computer chess is a foregone conclusion.
In fact, chess programs are also handy to use in gauging how fast your computer processor is running, and there is a small but growing fraternity that employs chess engines to test their overclocking, and to pit programs against each other (minus the humans), in simulated competitions between different chess programs.
Chess was, and still is an enjoyable Web activity for me. I used to play at Chess.net a long time ago when it was free, and sometimes at Yahoo Games and Internet Chess Club. Then, when the Kasparov Chess site was still up, I used to pop in quite frequently. For the past few years, I checked in at Playchess.com, but recently they made it mandatory for all free accounts to pay a yearly fee or lose their ratings. I had a free account there for many years, but it seems they prohibited all the free accounts (including mine), from accessing the main playing hall. Since I’m just an occasional player, I don’t see the need to pay yearly fees for a free game I play now and then. Now I’ve moved on to playing at FICS (Free Internet Chess Server).
Two places where you can play chess (against computer programs) while determining the playing strength levels are Accoona Chess and Shredder Chess.
Maybe this whole WuChess idea could work, but if I were to speak from experience, 70% of people playing chess online will only play chess if it’s free. Actually, chess and the Internet have always made a good fit from the start. Or to be more precise, speed/blitz chess. Take a look at this video….