Castling is a move in chess where two pieces move at the same time, placing your root next to the king, and creating a type of castle around your most important piece. One of the reasons I love the game of chess is because it is full of strategic moves.
I learned how to play chess when I was about 19 years old; a friend from work taught me how to play. I enjoyed playing the game, but not too many people in my circle played it. Recently I taught my kids how to play, and it’s much easier to play when you have three excited new players willing and able to play.
One of the reasons I taught them how to play was to enhance their strategic thinking skills. It was amazing how Leah and TJ caught on, they fell in love with the game, and now they play more than me.
I started off by teaching them the basics, the name of the pieces, and how they move. From there, I gave them tactics, and then I showed them strategies. These are two terms that are confused pretty often. Tactics are the actual means used to gain an objective, like sacrificing your pawns to get a bishop or knight. Strategy is the overall plan that involves complex operational patterns that focus on decision-making to guide the tactics. One of the main strategies in chess is being able to think ahead 4 or 5 moves.
Now there was this one move I waited until they had a good understanding of the game before I taught them. It is called Castling. Now Castling is where you move your King two spaces toward the kingside, then the rook two spaces crossing the king. Or move the King three spaces toward the queenside, then the rook two spaces crossing the king.
There are four rules you have to follow before you can Castle your King.
1. The king and the rook may not have moved from their starting squares if you want to castle.
2. All spaces between the king and the rook must be empty.
3. The king cannot be in check.
4. The squares that the king passes over must not be under attack, nor the square where it lands on.
Now you see why I waited to teach a 9-year-old and a 6-year-old this move. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an amazing move, and if you do it right, you can secure your king while you attack the other player’s pieces. But if I would have shared this move too early, it would have been too much information for them to handle. They wouldn’t have been able to comprehend and would have lost interest in the game.
I simplified the game to teach them how easy it was to learn. My goal was to figure out a balance between tactics and strategies they could learn without the game being too complex. While developing this plan for teaching, a thought came to mind. Is this how God reveals our purpose, dreams, or calling to us?
Does He create a plan so He can walk us through the process so that we don’t get overwhelmed and run away? Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Does He also give us small parts at a time so that we can understand how it could work out for our good? Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Castling is an excellent move when used at the right time in the game. It’s a two-part technique. First, you move the king into a safer position. Secondly, you move your rook to a more active position in the center of the board.
We should see God as the Master Chess Player, and our life is a chessboard. God has a purpose for all our lives, and there is an enemy trying to stop us from fulfilling that purpose in our lives. We should trust that God has a plan for us to prosper, and we should believe that His plan wasn’t created to harm us. We should have confidence that God is using tactics and strategies to give us hope and a future because all things God has planned is for the good of those He loves. His word says that God loves us so much that He gave His only Son to die for us. Now those who believe in His Son have a calling on their lives, that calling is our purpose.
You can Find Wisdom while Teaching a Game of Chess to your Children.