The laws of Chess and the movement of the traditional Chess pieces have been the same since the sixth century of the second millennium. The changes that took place have quickened up the rate of play, such as allowing the Pawns to move two cells on the first move option (FMO). The origins of Chess are obscure. Some evidence presented by David Li in “Genealogy of Chess” quite clearly shows it was developed in China in the 2nd century B.C. but it is not until the 7th century that there is a reference to the game in literature. The first mention of Chess is found in a Persian poem according to which the advent of the game took place in India. Chess migrated to Persia (Iran) during the reigns of King Chosroe-
Chess is also mentioned in the poems of Firdousi, a Persian poet of the 10th century in which he describes gifts being introduced by a convoy from the Rajah of India at the court of the Persing King Chosroe-
In the 8th century the Moors invaded Spain and Chess spread to Europe. The game found its way to the western world after the Moslems conquered lands from India and Persia to the East, and Spain to the West. The first reference to Chess is found in the Catalonian Testament of 1010 AD. A Chess set was presented as a gift to Charlemagne from the famous Moslem ruler Haroon-
In Russian folk poems Chess is mentioned as a popular game. The Vikings carried the game to north-
The oldest of these (Mansubat) were penned by the Arab author Al-
Today there are 149 Chess playing countries belonging to FIDE. In the last few centuries traditional Chess has truly become international in appeal. Chess is exciting, demanding skill, and the result is unpredictable. It is not a physical contest, and there is no element of luck as in card games. In oriental warfare, a battle could be decided by the death or capture of the King, which in Chess is known as Shah-
The Persians took up Indian Chess with enthusiasm. The caliphs, rulers of the Moslem world, kept Chess professionals at court through the 9th and 10th centuries. Chess was brought to Europe by the Moors in Spain before AD 1,000. There was great confusion throughout medieval Europe concerning the pieces names. The elephants became archers in Spain, Standard-
Europe’s first big contribution to Chess came about AD 1,000 -
But it swept Europe like a forest fire, except Russia, where the masses stuck to the old game for over two more centuries. Italy took over from Spain as the leading Chess country in the 17th century. In the 18th century, supremacy passed to France. About 1840, London became the main Chess center. The first international Chess tournament was held in London in 1851. It was won by Adolf Anderssen, a German professor of mathematics. The fantastic advance of Chess in the 20th century is best shown by figures. Before 1923 there were rarely more than four international tournaments in a year. Between 1923 and 1939, the average was six. After WW II this quadrupled. In 1974 it jumped to 60, in 1975 to 75, in 1976 to 100.
By the end of 1990 the number had increased to well over 1,000 registered tournaments. In 1924 FIDE had a dozen member countries. In 1990 it had 127. Every two years, a world teams’ tourney is held, known as the Chess Olympiad. The number of entries in 1927 was 16. By 1990 it reached 108 teams. Women’s Olympiads started in 1957 with 21 teams, increasing to a record 65 in 1990. Russia (or the former Soviet Union) first competed in an Olympiad in 1952 and has won all but two since then. Only for three years since 1948 has there been a non-
The challenger is found after three years of elimination tournaments, and matches start with Zonal tournaments, continuing with interzonals and culminating with Candidates’ matches. Women’s World Championships are played under similar procedures. The title of Chess Champion of the World dates strictly from 1886, but it has been conferred retrospectively from 1866 by general consent. Before that, there were players recognized as supreme in their time. The following list will not be disputed by most mature players:
01 Andre Danican Philidor (France) 1747-
Until the present century, traditional Chess (:L01 of Chesmayne) was regarded as a game for the wealthy and leisured classes in society. It is the national sport in Russia, where it is more popular than football. Indeed, Russian Chess players have dominated world Chess since the 1940s, although their superiority is fast being challenged by Britain, which is now established as a strong Chess playing nation. Compare it with draughts or the Japanese game of Go (nearly all strategy). Chess also has the advantage of its finely differentiated playing pieces. They are not merely rounded lumps of wood or stone but individuals, each with h/er own power and attributes.
It is easy to identify with one’s Chess pieces. Losing a game of draughts never results in the same sense of deep personal loss that one has when the KI is ++CM. It is a game that involves the mind completely. Chess combines elements of both art and science, what the Dutch call Denksport. Analyzing a Chess game is primarily an exercise in logic, yet arriving at a beautiful checkmating attack or a profound strategical position can bring a genuine sense of creative satisfaction. There is also the competitive aspect of the game. Chess is not a solitary exercise, like solving a crossword puzzle, but a battle between two individuals, a struggle of mind and will.
Above all, Chess provides a sense of continuity with the past -
Traditional Chess is one of the world’s most played board games. It has an old and distinguished pedigree, developed for over five centuries. The wisdom of antiquity has bequeathed it to succeeding generations. Of the various occidental board games, Chess is the King. It is the one practiced most widely and has the most-
Its theme is the vast and bewildering complexity of the universe of thought -
In this section the reader is taken through the delightful account of the landmarks and discoveries and pays tribute to the Chess players who made contributions, both large and small, not only as painstaking observers of the game, but also as outstanding wo/men of vision whose conclusions were often ahead of their time. We have traveled through the ages to accumulate a battery of sound Chess theories and along this road circuitous detours carried many thinkers far and wide through a wilderness.
At this juncture we must put the whole achievement into perspective and it is well to make some preliminary comments about the state of Chess as it now stands. To settle a group of students a teacher will first tell them a light story when they first come into the classroom, just to put them at ease, focused, and then kind of lead them into.
revised Oct 10 2011
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