CHENNAI: The most common scene at a birthday party these days, after the cake-cutting ceremony is over goes somewhat like this — youngsters are all checking out the photos that were clicked. Another bunch is using the burst shot to click the best selfie, with cake on the face and someone else is busy uploading the photo to Instagram and then linking it to Facebook. While a few adults are watching them and appreciating the adorable pouts and the peace out actions, a few others are busy discussing the latest video by Baba Ram Dev.
If we reel back two decades, birthday parties meant children playing Antakshari or Dumb Charades. Those quiet, uninterested ones would pick up the board game Chinese Chequers.
“We had it in our house when we were children. As we grew up and got married, we totally forgot about it. But the irony is that my cousin, who went abroad and settled there got a gift for my daughter, a game of Chinese Chequers,” recalls Kusum Sudhani, who spent her childhood playing the game.
The chequers board is in the shape of a star and is played using marbles. Each end of the star is allotted for a player and can be played by two people to six people, seated on the opposite side. The player who reaches the other side of the board first, using his or her marbles wins.
“It may sound simple, but one needs to move strategically in order to win. You cannot skip a marble as you like. You have to think two steps ahead before making a move,” says Kusum.
Psychologists have also suggested that Chinese Chequers is one other game that helps sharpen the mind. A study suggests that there are multiple benefits of playing this game. While it helps build analytical power among children, making them alert and attentive, it also contributes to making them adults who plan and make informed decisions. It is also effective among adults who want to fight memory loss problems.
The next time you are out in a café or at a birthday party, try to engage your friends in a game of Chinese Chequers. It is a lot more fun than trying to remember which Snapchat meme you uploaded yesterday.