Chess has now become one of the most popular competitive indoor games that have created a large impact on populations around the world. But the origins of the game date way back. It is nearly believed to date back to 1500 years but the exact dates are uncertain. The origins are sourced back to India before the 6th century A.D. and then it spread out to other regions. It spread out first to Persia. From this, the Muslim community took up the game of chess when Persia was conquered by the Arabs.
One of the most predominant methods to play the game in the early days was called the “Romantic Chess” method which involves quick and tactical maneuvers in the game rather than long-term planning. The methods that followed the Romantic method era were named Scientific, Hypermodern, and New Dynamism eras respectively.
Development Of The Game Across Centuries
The 19th century saw the initiation of the modern tournaments, with the World Chess Championships starting in 1886. We saw huge leaps in the field of this game in the 20th century with the introduction of the chess theory and also the foundation and establishment of the World Chess Federation (FIDE). The first iconic moment in the game was the loss of chess champion Garry Kasparov to the virtual opponent the Deep Blue.
Chess was believed to been having originated in India during the reign of the Gupta Empire. The earlier name of chess was chaturanga which translates to the four divisions of the military namely infantry, cavalry, elephantry, and chariotry. These four divisions would later evolve into their modern forms: the pawns, knights, bishops, and rookies respectively.
The game was then subsequently adopted by the Persian nobility, who made it a part of the princely or courtly education system. Due to the lack of ch and ng native sounds prevalent in the Arabs, the name of chatrang first and then subsequently evolved to shatranj. After further development of the rules, players started calling signals such as Shah! (Persian for “King”) and Shah Mat! (Persian for “the king is helpless”) or what we better know as the checkmate when an attack was made on the king and he could not escape.
There are not only those who believe chess comes from India, but some people believe that chess was invented in China. The legend says that chess was invented around 200 B.C. by a commander, Hán Xin, who invented the game to represent a particular battle.
Soon after the battle, an important battle in Chinese history, the game was forgotten and then resurfaced in the 7th century A.D. with several new rules. The game became popular under the name “XiangQi” which means the “elephant game”, losing its reference to the ancient battle. The elephant game was very dissimilar to the chess game that we know today.
They had other pieces, another board, and even other rules. According to this belief, chess went from China to India and Persia afterward, where it slowly modified into the chess game we know today with an 8×8 square chessboard and the chess pieces that we are familiar with
Europe And The East
The game reached Western Europe and Russia by at least three routes, the earliest being in the 9th century. By the year 1000, it had spread throughout Europe. Introduced into the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors in the 10th century, it was described in a famous 13th-century manuscript covering shatranj, backgammon and dice named the Libro de Los Juegos.
Buddhist pilgrims, Silk Road traders, and others carried it to the Far East, where it was transformed into a game often played on the intersection of the lines of the board rather than within the squares. Chinese chess and Shogi are the most important of the oriental chess variants. However, it was the changes made in medieval Europe which led to our modern game.
Chess History From The Romantic Era To The Digitalized Era
Until the end of the 15th century, chess changed numerous times, survived sanctions by the Christian Church as well as complete prohibitions from time to time.
Right up until the 1880s, the game developed into the shape of the modern chess game. This period is known as “the romantic era of chess”.
It slowly gained its competitive character and concrete rules, growing in popularity among the people. Strategical planning or long study of the theory were pretty subordinate topics. In the foreground, there were issues like quick tactical motifs and the reliance on intuitive moves.
he first chess tournaments started to take place and even the first official World Championship was hosted in 1886 where Wilhelm Steinitz became the first official World Chess Champion.
Until the middle of the 20th century, there were tendencies towards romantic chess play, when players relied on tactics and extremely dynamic play. However, the 20thcentury revolutionized chess with the invention of databases, chess engines, and several methods for comfortable and efficient strategical preparations.
Chess websites and online games were invented so that the romantic era was finalized and a new technological, digitalized era began.
All in all, there are a variety of hypotheses about the history of this game and there is no specific person who invented this well-known game. It has changed throughout the centuries and will probably keep changing with the times.
We can go on and on discussing this beautiful game, but alas, every good thing has to come to an end and so will this blog. But, this game has surely been one of the most prominent games for young intellectuals and we can be sure that this game will continue to thrive for generations and generations to come.
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