I wonder why there’s no manga on Chess


Last time I was at uni studying. There was some students playing chess on the desk in front of mine. I never learned how to play Chess, I asked myself why. It never interested me. As much as it is portrayed both in real life and in fiction as the most intellectual game ever, it always seemed very primitive to me. In the end, no matter how complicated it gets, the only strategy in Chess is predicting your opponent’s moves. No more no less. Sure there’s different tactics, like the stuff I just read on Wikipedia about the Indian Defense and whatever, but it’s still about predicting.

After that, I started to look up if there was a manga on chess. And there isn’t as far as I know. Sure there’s some with Chess elements, and a lot of manga use it to show some sort of intellectualism possessed by the characters like I said in the first paragraph, but there isn’t a pure Chess one. Like you know, the typical shounen manga about a young boy who has a hidden talent playing Chess called La Main de Déesse and how his father left him a king piece before disappearing, the boy now plays Chess in order to find the truth about his father’s disappearance. It’s because you can’t do such a manga with Chess, or maybe you could but it would be extremely difficult. You won’t be able to make the matches exciting, make the audience’s blood boil, or make the boy pull off crazy moves that would make the readers want to learn them and use them themselves while playing, because such moves simply doesn’t exist in Chess. You can’t do the Yu Gi Oh or Saki of Chess.

After that, one could think it’s because Chess isn’t popular in Japan enough, being overshadowed by Shougi. Everyone says Shougi is the equivalent of Chess but as I don’t know how to play both I can’t really confirm this. Anyway, even then there’s only a few manga on Shougi. The only one I know of is Shion no Ou. And the anime was awesome, though I never finished it. I should do that and also read the manga someday.

I feel like it’s the first time I wrote a post that could be so full of crap, I’m nervous just like Wendy wearing a mini skirt. It was fun though.

6 thoughts on “I wonder why there’s no manga on Chess

  1. Random Comment

    Maybe this isn’t what you might be looking for, but you might want to check out Hikaru no Go. Granted it focuses more on the chess players and less on chess (in this case, Go) techniques, but it’s still a (pretty famous) manga on a strategy board game.

    1. rockmanshii Post author

      Oh I know about Hikaru no Go, I love it.
      It’s also pretty popular here in France and a lot of people started playing Go because of it. There’s a Go corner in almost every French con.

  2. Chris

    Even though this piece is over 3 years old, and you did admit to potentially being full of shit, I’ll still try and clear some things up for you, and anyone else that comes along.

    “In the end, no matter how complicated it gets, the only strategy in Chess is predicting your opponent’s moves. No more no less.”

    Surprisingly untrue. There are many many strategies in chess, aggressive, positional, tactical, defensive, to name a few. Predicting your opponent’s moves is a relatively small part compared to focusing on your own moves. Nearly every move you make will be judged a ‘mistake’ by the top computers, the winner is usually the person who can best take advantage of the opponents mistakes, that are more likely to be created by superior play. Chess is a beautiful game of creativity and flare, prediction is a just a base to work off.

    “You won’t be able to make the matches exciting”

    I find soccer and NFL to be two of the most boring sports ever created, but the fans of those games find them very exciting. And vice versa. Chess fans find chess exciting in ways outsiders struggle to grasp, which makes it no different to shogi, football, tennis, or anything. A chess manga/anime would be exciting for the target audience its intended.

    As far as chess specifically, a common feature of matches are ‘gambits’, that is, intentionally sacrificing pieces to gain ‘initiative’ or ‘counter play’. Intentionally crippling your own forces, to risk it all on a do-or-die offensive attack is exciting to me and other chess fans. Alternatively, a player who loses material early, but refuses to give in, valiantly defending, scrapping and clawing each move to keep his king safe, can make a game defensively interesting.

    Another way chess is exciting to its fans is the time controls. Classical chess takes place over the course of many hours and is the only way to appropriately crown the World Champion. However the rest of the time, the limit is much shorter which leads to frenetic play, hyper-aggressive attacks, and incredible blunders, that wouldn’t be normally possible if the players had more time to think. The rise of ‘Bullet Chess’ in recent years (players each have only one minute on the clock to make moves) is an example of this.

    “or make the boy pull off crazy moves that would make the readers want to learn them and use them themselves while playing, because such moves simply doesn’t exist in Chess”

    This is actually really baffling to me. You admit to not knowing the rules, but then claim what moves do and don’t exist in chess? Chess is full of crazy moves, even after hundreds and hundreds of years, new novelties continue to pop up that have never been seen before. Even moves that were previously known and dismissed are often revived out of the blue by a top player.
    And on that note, chess players are no different to fans of any other sport. If a top player starts playing a new opening with success, the flock follows. Of course readers would want to emulate their heroes, fictional or otherwise. My opening repertoire for White pieces is a combination of World Champions Capablanca and Fischer, while my opening game for Black is roughly modeled on Grand Master Nakamura. Can i copy them perfectly? Hell no. But they inspire to make certain decisions in certain positions.

  3. Gabriel Pereira

    Well IM Agree About That Any Sport And Discipline Can Make A Good Manga It’s About Taste, And Sure A Manga Of Chess Would Be Great, Perhaps It’s Not Very Popular For Japanes Because Of Shogi, That Is Very Similar, With The Difference That There Are Just One Rook, And The Knights Just Moves Forward, And There are Two Pieces That We Don’t Use On Chess 2 gold generals, 2 silver generals,Those Can Be Promoted By Reaching The Promotion Zone (Half Territory Of The Opponent), And Lupus Can Use The Pieces Captured For Your Advantage Instead Of Moving, Basically It’s Pretty Similar (Maybe There Are Other Rules?) Worth Giving It A Try, And Also I’ve Checked That There Is A Manwha Called Chess Isle, I Haven’t Seen It If You Do Commen How Was It. Thanks


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