History of Chess: The Basics
Where did chess come from? Have you ever wondered that?

History of Chess: The Basics

| 15 | Fun & Trivia

During a short intermission on Live Chess, I decided to join in the general conversation. When I was about to start another game someone had posted, "where did chess come from?" I tend to see a lot of these random statements. Others include-

  • How old is chess?
  • Who invented chess?

And other various questions. (You get the point :p)

So, for all the nubsters out there, this article is for you.

The History of Chess

-The Basics-

Today we know that chess originated from the Gupta Empire (600CE), of India. However many people firmly believe that chess was played by the ancient Egyptians. But, the game we think of as chess and what the Egyptians used to play are completely different. Simply put, the Egyptians played something different that resembled chess. Despite this, we really don't know who first came up with the game, but it can be traced officially back to India.

The pieces come from the primary military elements of that time: the infantry, the elephants, the calvalry and the chariots.

Global trade eventually brought the game to Europe and around 1200CE the game undertook dramatic changes to become what it is today. In Italy and Spain, such changes gave their pawns the ability to move two squares on the first move, bishops their dominance over diagnals and queens their ability to move anywhere.

During the 18th century, the center of the chess world switched to western Europe to areas like France. Matches were played in large coffee houses in large cities such as London and Paris. It wasn't until the 19th century that chess became widely known.

Cafe de la Regence S.XIX

"Cafe de la Regence" in Paris during XIX century.

The first chess tournament was held in London (1851). The winner was a German by the name of Adolf Anderssen. Adolf Anderssen was also the winner of the "Immortal Game".

The term "Grandmaster" was immortalized by Czar Nicholas II of Russia (1914) and the title was informally given to 5 players. The responsibility was later left up to FIDE, who were based out of Paris (1924).

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