Chess history from TOEFL textbook

Mar 11, 2008, 9:48 AM |

For those who know their chess history, is the following reading sample from the latest edition of a TOEFL textbook accurate?

The origins of the game of chess are not known with certainty, and traditional stories in a number of cultures claim credit for developing the game.  One legend claims that chess was invented during the Trojan Wars.  According to another legend, chess was developed to depict the battle between two royal brothers for the crown of Persia. When one brother was killed, the remaining brother had the game invented to explain the tragic events to his mother. In a third legend, chess was the creation of the mythical Arab philosopher Sassa.

 Whatever its origins, chess was known to exist in India as early as 500 B.C., and it eventually spread from India to Persia, where it took on much of the terminology that today is part of the game.  Foot soldiers in the Persian army were called piyadah, which became the pawns of today's game, and the Persian chariot was a rukh, which became the rook.  The Persian king was the shah, which evolved into the name chess.  Shahmat, which means "the king is dead," became the expression "checkmate."  The expression is used during the game to indicate that one player’s king is on the verge of being captured.