A Brief History of Chess: an Early Master

Aug 27, 2009, 12:00 AM |
11 | Chess Players

The 'Mad Queen' rules (before these Bishops were capable of only moving two squares diagonally, and the Queen one square diagonally) were introduced to chess during the Renaissance, in Italy, and it was there that one of the first masters was born. True, chess was played by the Persians centuries before, and strong masters existed, but not with the modern set of rules!

Greco (1600?-1634?), though he died young, exerted his influence on the game for a century to come. He analysed the main line of the Italian Game (also known as the Giuco Piano) 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3, planning d4. His notes were full of tactical tricks and traps, many of which players use and fall for to this day. The downside was that Greco did not bother too much with explaining how to defend against them!

At that time, the usual game of chess consisted not of general principles or concrete analysis, but of chance, and luck, and maybe the odd capture or two of a chess piece, or even possibly that elusive 'check', delivered to the opposing monarch, all of which granted pleasure to the player. The early chess player often took every possible opportunity to check his opponent.

Greco, however, displayed astute tactical abilities on top of the rather primitive style of play. He parted freely with material in order to hunt the King down, his games fine examples of glory over wealth.

Below is one of the best-known examples of his games:

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