An Exploration of Chess

We are presently in pre-production of An Exploration of Chess, a detailed examination of the past, present and future of chess. This exploration will be of interest to both a general and chess-focused audience by vividly and engagingly presenting the widest spectrum of relevant views from historians, cultural anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, neuroscientists, computer scientists, educational theorists and practitioners, and many others, in addition to a wide coterie of expert chess players, analysts, historians, writers and even chess YouTubers. 

This Exploration will be divided into eight overlapping parts:

I. The History of Chess: A general introduction to the history of chess from its ancient beginnings to the present day.

II. Chess Variants in the World: A presentation of various chess variants currently being played throughout the world (in particular xiangqi, shogi, makruk and janggi) explicitly contrasting these variants and chess in an attempt to address the question of what “chess” is and what makes it special.

III. The Cultural Impact of Chess Throughout the Ages: An investigation of the strong cultural role that chess has played throughout human history, from Islamic art to medieval courtly love to Enlightenment values to modern literary influences to Cold War rhetoric and beyond.

IV. The Societal Impact of Chess: A demonstration of the many distinct ways that chess is garnering significant societal impact through its use in education, prison, community centres and libraries, behavioural economics and other areas. 

V. Chess and The Human Mind: An examination of how chess has strongly influenced our developing understanding of the human mind and brain (memory, expertise, decision-making, vision, and other areas).

VI. Chess and Artificial Intelligence: An exploration of the overlap of chess and computation, from Alan Turing to the latest AI chess programs, focusing on both how chess influenced the development of computer science and how modern chess “engines” are impacting the modern game.

VII. Competitive Chess: A description of the world of competitive chess from the club level to the world championships.

VIII. The Future of Chess: A presentation of a range of expert speculations on the future of the previous seven topics.