Brief History Of Chess Crash Primer

Let's take in a brief history of chess
Let's take in a brief history of chess
Let's begin with a brief history of chess as an overview. You can take in the history of chess here in great detail. Not everyone though would have the endurance to pore over all of that in one day. Well here's your alternative, the byte-size version.

This is a 30,000 foot view giving each of the main events a flying visit. If you haven't previously heard the story of chess this will be the perfect primer. You will get the bones of the story in just a few minutes. Can't say fairer than that. You can even build a web page on this site containing your article on chess history.

Modern chess was derived from earlier games. There are conflicting accounts of where chess first showed up, some claims from China or even Ireland! But most accounts are nestled amidst the majesty of the sub-continent that is India.


Brief History Of Chess: Introduction

Brief History Of Chess: Dilaram's problem, White to move has to prevent mate and win himself but how?

Chess in some form or another has been around since the dawn of civilization. The earliest known historical record of a chess like game is that of Chaturanga in northern India.

As it was carried westward on trade routes and was adopted by other peoples, slight alterations were made. It became hugely popular in the Persian Empire where it was known as Shatranj. Some centuries later the Moors would bring chess to Europe.

It passed through many cultures, civilizations and also an incredible journey through time. The game underwent considerable change. However the fundamental concept of chess remained unaltered.

Birth Of Chess

Brief History Of Chess: Birth Of Chess

Birth Of Chess: Shatranj's Mujannah - Mashaikhi opening

The Chaturanga army was modeled on the Indian armies of this era. The game was inspired by war. The players were like generals, maneuvering their soldiers toward victory.

Chaturanga was created as a representation of ancient Indian warfare. The infantry, cavalry, elephants and chariots were represented by the foot-soldier (became a pawn in Europe), horse (became a Knight in Europe), elephant (became a Bishop in Europe) and chariot (became a Rook in Europe) respectively.

The game captured the imagination of everyone from the royalty and nobles at court to the peasants in the fields. Eventually this game that began in northern India would conquer the world.

Growth Of Chess

Brief History Of Chess: Growth Of Chess

Brief History of Chess: Europeans like Ruy Lopez de Segura developed interesting new strategies for chess

Merchants and traders brought the game along with them on the trade routes into Persia. Moving right across Asia and North Africa chess was carried into Europe by the Moors during their conquest of Spain.

After Spain and later Italy became the continent's leading chess playing nations, the Vikings brought the game to northern Europe. They brought chess to Iceland, Ireland, Britain, Scandinavia and Russia.

By the Middle Ages the game was well and truly established in Europe. In the 19th Century international competition turned from a trickle into a flood.

Brief History of Chess Modernization

Brief History Of Chess: Modernisation

Brief History of Chess: De Castellvi vs Vinoles (1475); one of the earliest recorded games under modern rules

For all of the time that the game developed in Asia the pieces were limited enough in terms of mobility. So the games tended to drag on a bit, sometimes taking many hours to complete.

The Europeans were not as patient as the Indians, the Persians, the Arabs or the Moors. They wanted the protagonists to engage far quicker. Some new rules were devised.

The Queen was made much more powerful. Pawns could now move forward two squares on their opening move and castling was introduced. These changes in the 15th century had a profound effect on chess. It became the game we know today.

Chess Today

Brief History Of Chess: Chess Today

Chess Today: Carlsen vs Kramnik; Victor gets blitzed in Moscow in Nov 09

Since the latter half of the 19th Century international competition has gone from strength to strength. Today there are over 1,000 top class tournaments every year.

The concept of a World Chess Champion first emerged in the 1800s. Wilhelm Steinitz considered himself World Champion after a victory over Adolf Andersson in 1866. He was the first official champion when he beat Johannes Zukertort in 1886.

Chess theory has come on in leaps and bounds since then. Computer technology has been instrumental in this. New generations of chess magicians continue to make their mark like Magnus Carlsen, Viktor Kramnik, Veselin Topalov and Vishy Anand.

Playing Chess Online

Medieval masters did not have computers to analyze their games
Medieval masters did not have computers to analyze their games
Technology in recent decades has changed chess enormously. From analysis software with databases and engines to a new platform to compete. Now it's possible to play people anywhere in the world in real time.

Players of all strengths can find opponents on their level to lock horns with at a moment's notice. All from the comfort of their own home.

It's also no longer necessary to seek out a strong master to coach you to greater things. This is of course still an option and a good one too. But no longer the only way to improve.

Now, using software on your own computer, you can analyze your games and study all aspects of chess strategy from openings, middlegames and endgames.

We Want Your Chess History Gem

Chess is this amazing human phenomenom spanning cultures, continents and eras. In it's many different forms it has built up an ocean of intriguing history. No one can know it all or even a fraction. One tenth of the world's population play chess. There are so many people out there who have priceless knowledge of chess history. If you have an interesting chess story please share. Tell us your chess history gem.

Read the Gems left by other Contributors

Click below to see chess history gems from other Contributors...

Chaturanga Tales 
I am a writer from the subcontinent India. I am writing a few tales from the past, for you to read. In ancient India chess was called Chaturanga. History …

Chess Piece Values 
People often argue about chess piece values, the relative worth compared to one another. The following story may bring us closer to understanding what …

Chess Origin 
The Chess is one of the very popular game from the olden days. The 64 squares,two players, 36 pieces and a little mind game of using them is required to …

Chess Dreams Not rated yet
Chess was my passion in olden days. I was about 18 years old when I played chess for the first time in my life. Usually I make comment on my buddies who …

Fisher Chess Spoon  Not rated yet
CHECK MATE by Wayne Bednersh At the last National Spoon Convention in Colorado Springs, Ervin Goldman convinced …

Click here to write your own.

Moving On

History of Chess - India or China?
History of Chess - India or China?
That's it from the birth in India right through to the emergence of Carlsen. I may have neglected to mention a few things and been patchy enough on others but I cover every thing in detail in this History section.

History is something you can read a little of from time to time rather than ploughing through all of it in one go. Unless of course you can't get enough of it.

Well if you can handle more history and you want it in greater detail, you can start with earliest known existence of chess.