Chess History By Landin Woollum
Chess History The game of chess traces back to seventh century India. From India “chess” spread to Persia and after the Arabian conquest during the 600s, “chess” reached the Arab world. Chess thrived in the golden age of Islam between the 700s and the 1,000s. The Arabs were great mathematicians and the geometric nature of chess complicated their scientific interests.
Chess in Europe Chess arrived in Europe by a variety of trade routes as well as the Moorish invasion of Spain in the 700s and the Islam conquest of Silicy not long after. The Vikings took the game even farther west-ward. By the beginning of the 1,000s chess was already well known across Europe.
Mirror of society The names of the pieces today- the king, queen, knight, rook, and bishop-were established during the Middle Ages when society was very ordered and geared toward warfare. Chess reflected this rigid world, and it found a place in many ballads and poems of the period.
Dynamic Changes After the1450s, during the period known as the Renaissance, the rules of chess evolved as the ones we use today. As society and cultural life changed, so did chess. The queen, until then had limited powers, now became the most powerful piece on the board. The bishop also extended its range, and pawns were permitted two squares on the first turn. These rule changes meant that lightning attack was possible right from the start of the game.
Chess on the move Many different cultures and places have produced many great players over the centuries. In the Renaissance, Spain and Italy were the strongest chess-playing nations. From the middle of the 1700’s, Paris produced many excellent players, and in the middle of the 1800’s, when the British empire was at height, London became the center of chess life.
Chess on the move (continued) In the early 1900’s, chess ceased to be a game played by the idle rich. As chess became more democratic, centers of excellence sprang up all over the world-in Europe (Berlin, Vienna, Budapest), in the Soviet Union, an in North and South America. Chess truly had become a game for everyone.
Living History In the long and varied history of chess, each generation has built upon the experience and knowledge of the proceeding one. Records of the game has survived through the ages-they let us trace a clear line of thinking that goes back to the earliest days of the game. Whenever you play, you are taking part in an ancient activity.
Interesting Fact 1 Chess is sometimes called the royal game. Kings and Queens have been playing for centuries, including the English king, William the conqueror, who is said to break a chessboard over a French prince’s head.
Interesting fact 2 The word “rook” derives from an old Arabic word “rukh”, meaning chariot. By the time chess reached Europe, sometime after A.D. 700, chariots were no longer in use. So rook came to resemble a castle’s turret, which more accurately reflected the nature of society and warfare during the Middle Ages.
Interesting fact 3 When the game of chess began in India, the bishops were known as “elephants”. In many languages the name still survives to this day. Such as in Russia, the word “slon” which means
Interesting fact 4 In the original game in India and Persia, this piece the “vizier”- actually had very limited powers. However, after the 1400’s, the queen became a more powerful piece, in keeping with a changing and more dynamic society.
Interesting fact 5 As far as we know, the “l-shaped” knight move has remained the same since the beginnings of the game in early 7th century India. This leaping piece has always been associated with the cavalry.
Interesting fact 6 In the 1700’s, the French player Andre’ Philidor called pawns “the soul of chess.” he recognized that pawns , despite their limited mobility, can often determine the nature and the outcome of a game of chess.