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1000 Word Challenge - Week 22

This week, learn some English words about vocabulary, and learn about Backgammon and Chess!

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Week 22!

This week, Dr. Heidi shows you some of her favorite board games.

Watch this week’s video on YouTube below.


This week’s text!

Read the text of this week’s video to check your understanding and practice your new words!

So, before there was television. Before there was radio, and way before there was the Internet people played games. So I wanted to show you some some of my favorite board games. These are called board games or sometimes tabletop games because they usually have a playing board of some sort.

We’re going to go through these the order that they were invented. So, the first game I want to show you is called backgammon. It’s played all over the world and this is one of the oldest games that we know.

What I mean is we found boards that are very similar to modern backgammon boards like five thousand years ago in Mesopotamia or what is now Iraq.

Oh, if you’re gonna play games one of the fun things about games is to play them with your friends! So I’ve invited Little Heidi and Victor to join me. Backgammon is a two-person game so I’ll let them play.

So we’re all set up! Here little Heidi is playing the red pieces. So she’s trying to move her pieces all the way around the board into her home area. And then when they’re all there she can move them off and the first player who gets all their pieces off wins. Victor’s white and he’s trying to move his pieces all the way over here and then take them off. There’s actually there’s two kinds of games: there’s games of skill and games of chance. So if you play a game of chance it’s really just depends on how lucky you are, whether or not you win, but if you play a game of skill it means that you’re using your own strategy, you’re trying to solve the game, and the better player will usually win.

Backgammon has elements of chance and elements of skill. So each player will roll a die. Dice is actually a plural word; the singular is die so this is a die. There are two dice so Victor wins! He got a four and he’s gonna play four and two so he needs to move his pieces four and two. He can move this piece one, two, and then this piece one two three four. Or he can move one piece one, two, three, four, one, two but in this case he’s probably better off moving one, two, three, four and one, two. Because in backgammon if your piece is alone the other person can hit it back, so we want to protect these pieces by putting these together. So now it’s Little Heidi’s turn. Okay, she got doubles when you get two of the same roll it’s called double. So double twos, so she can move four twos. So, she gets to move two two and two two. So, doubles are a pretty good role in backgammon. So I want to show you what happens… let’s pretend that Victor left one of his pieces open, like, okay let’s say Victor left this piece here and Little Heidi rolls a four. You can go two three four, and then Victor gets knocked back. And he has to go into the other side, Little Heidi’s side, and he has to go all the way back around. So this is the main strategy with backgammon. You’re trying to move your pieces to your home board but protect them, but at the same time, you’re trying to attack the other person’s pieces if they leave them unprotected. So this is a pretty fun game for two people. I highly recommend it!

The next game I’m going to show you is called chess. Chess is another very old game. The first references to this game were from the 6th century the 7th century, so it’s been around for hundreds of years. It’s played with chess pieces. They’re also played on a chess board. So this board represents two different kingdoms and at the center is the king on each side. The goal of chess is to capture the other person’s king, while protecting your own king. So all of these pieces their job is to support the king. These are pawns. They’re just like a regular guy; they have a very limited movement and they’re usually the first to get killed in battle. This is a castle or a rook. This is a knight. This is a bishop, and all of these pieces can move in different directions. This is the queen. The queen is the most powerful piece on the board, but the king is the most important, so if you ever hear your female friends, your women friends, complaining that they don’t get enough respect just look at chess and know this has been going on for a long time.

So chess is entirely a game of skill. There’s no dice. There’s no chance. And people spend their lives studying chess. I used to play a lot, but I haven’t played very much lately. Generally what you do is you you move your pieces forward and try to build up a board that will, on the one hand protect you from the other person, and on the other hand, put you in a position to attack. So a good chess game has good offense, which is when you go after somebody, and good defense, which is when you protect yourself.

This is a very complicated game, and obviously I’m not going to try and teach it to you right now, but it’s a lot of fun and it’s a lot of good brain food, so if you if you feel like you want to exercise your brain this is a good choice. In order to play chess, you have to think ahead. If I do this, they’ll do this, and then if I do this, they’ll do this. And some people play this game with a timer, so they have to think really fast. So, if you want to do something that will kind of be fun but also exercise your brain this is a really good choice.

Words for Week 22

Here are the 20 words for week 22. You may know some of these words already. However, it’s very important with vocabulary that you practice the words that you already know in addition to learning new words. This is all good practice and will help your language skills. All these definitions are from the Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary, which is highly recommended for English language learners.

Word Definition
old having existed or been in use for a long time; not new
invent to create or produce (something useful) for the first time
player a person who plays a sport or game
table a piece of furniture that has a flat top and one or more legs
battle a military fight between groups of soldiers, ships, airplanes, etc.
home a place that you try to reach in some games (such as baseball)
depression a period of time in which there is little economic activity and many people do not have jobs
dice a small cube that is made of plastic, wood, etc., that has one to six dots on each side, and that is used usually in pairs in various games
turn to perform (a particular action)
strategy a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time
roll to move in a smooth, continuous way
friend a person who you like and enjoy being with
lucky having good luck; fortunate
diversion something that people do because it is enjoyable, entertaining, or pleasant
world the earth and all the people and things on it
king a male ruler of a country who usually inherits his position and rules for life
join to go somewhere in order to be with (a person or group)
favorite most liked
chance the way that events happen when they are not planned or controlled by people; luck
person a human being
solve to find a way to deal with and end (a problem)
guy a man
piece one of the small movable objects in a game like chess or checkers


Use your words!

This week, practice your words by telling us about your favorite game!

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