The Fake News Awards For Chess
Fake news in my chess games?!

The Fake News Awards For Chess

| 54 | Fun & Trivia

The concept of "fake news" is itself in the news recently.

While most of the fake news discussed these days is about politics, there is plenty of fake news in our favorite game.

Stronger players should be able to easily debunk false chess statements, but many beginners fall into the trap of too rigid thinking when it comes to chess ideas.

Here are the awards for the worst fake news in the game of chess.

fake news award

Let us know which chess ideas you disagree with in the comments.

FAKE NEWS: You should always resign when down a piece.

fake news awards

You just dropped a piece. The game is over, right?

Wrong. Keep fighting!

Even at the highest levels of chess, grandmasters have come back to win or draw after losing a piece. If you're reading this and resign at the first setback, stop doing that.

Below, White hung a piece in an opening trap I am sure many members have also fallen for, yet she fought on to win the game against a women's world champion.

FAKE NEWS: You should never give up a queen for two rooks.

fake news awards

This one is a real whopper. While experienced players know generally two rooks are better than a lone queen (depending on the position, of course), sometimes novice and intermediate players are reluctant to part ways with the lady, at any cost.

Just play through this game to see the raw power of the two towers. 

Raymond Keene reported that GM Peter Leko was tortured by insomnia trying to defend against the two rooks in his mind, even after the game ended: "I needed until 5 a.m. to get rid of those two black rooks," said Leko.

FAKE NEWS: A rook is always better than a knight.

fake news awards

Piece values in chess are not static. They change based on the position and the piece's potential. To teach beginners how to count material, though, we assign five points to the rook and three to the knight.

Of course, an advanced knight is sometimes worth as much as a rook, or much more.

Check out this masterpiece by Garry Kasparov. Would you rather have Kasparov's knight, a monster on the sixth rank, or one of Karpov's useless rooks?

FAKE NEWS: You can't attack by moving backwards.

fake news awards

This is an idea that even strong, experienced players need to actively fight against in their games.

When choosing to move a piece, the natural inclination is to move it forward, especially when you're trying to attack. But sometimes you can go furthest on the chessboard by moving backwards.

In the following game, my choice for the best chess game ever played, Deep Mind's AlphaZero plays one of the most beautiful attacking retreats you will ever see in its recent match vs Stockfish 8.

On move 26, already down a piece for nothing yet concrete, the AI calmly plays its queen back to h1 in a move whose aesthetic beauty and practical efficacy stunned almost everyone who saw it.

GM Peter Heine Nielsen had perhaps the best-articulated reaction to the match: "I always wondered how it would be if a superior species landed on earth and showed us how they play chess. I feel now I know."

FAKE NEWS: Chess is only for nerds.

fake news awards

Despite being portrayed in some aspects of popular culture as a game for geeks, chess is widely played and enjoyed around the world by all types of people. Professional athletes, star musicians, actors and actresses, successful business people, and even just your friends and family—all benefit from the wonderful game of chess.

Carly Rae Jepsen chess

Chess is for everyone, so why not start a new game right now?

Do you have any fake news for chess you'd like to debunk? Let us know in the comments. 

More from Pete
Can You Solve Our 2023 Holiday Puzzler?

Can You Solve Our 2023 Holiday Puzzler?

Can You Solve Our 2022 Holiday Puzzler?

Can You Solve Our 2022 Holiday Puzzler?