When was chess invented?

Chess is believed to have been known around the 4th century B.C. in India. But there are also those who claim that it was invented in China in 200 BC. Learn about these data, their evolution and some more curiosities in this excellent article. Don't stop reading it!

Origins of Chess

It tells the story that could have its origins in the fourth century BC. in India, created to satisfy the request of King Belkib who offered a reward to whoever designed a game that would help him overcome idleness. So, Brahman Sissa created a board divided into 64 squares with 32 pieces, where 4 players participated.

The game was called chaturanga, this being the most credible version. But there are also other stories such as that of Persia in the 6th century AD that was known by the name of Chatrang. In Mongolia the Tamerlane was created, in the year 1350 AD. where the board had 102 squares and 72 pieces.

But it was not until the 700s that, thanks to the conquests of Spain, chess became known in Europe. During the Middle Ages, Spain and Italy were the countries where this game was most practiced, under the rules pre-established by the Arabs.

From these days and until 1880, this game achieved the necessary advances to reach what we know today. This period is known as the romantic era of chess.

Changes in this game began to be experienced in the 16th and 17th centuries, where the queen became the most powerful piece on the board. The Italians became the most experienced, but were subsequently overtaken by the French and the English. This game was only allowed for nobles, aristocrats and religious orders.

For the first years of the 20th century, the use of chess spread and it became a popular game, which led to the need to create the International Chess Federation (FIDE) in Paris. In this way, the rules and categories for major championships are established.

Who invented chess?

The invention of chess is attributed to different people, the most accurate being Brahman Sissa, in India. It was created with the name of chaturanga or game of the four parts. It was a war game on a wooden board, divided into 64 equal parts with 32 pieces to arrange, distribute and move the wings of the army in a supposed battle.

Another version that exists is that the game was invented in China in the year 200 BC by the commander HánXin, who created the board only to represent a particular battle and that after this it was forgotten. Centuries later it appeared again and became popular under the name XiangQi.

In more recent history, chess, as we know it today, was created in the middle of the fifteenth century, where it acquired the appearance of both the board and the pieces that are used today. And it was the Spaniard Ruy López de Segura who established the rules that are still used today in the 16th century.

Chess legend

The legend tells that a king of India was convalescing. His family doctors advised him to distract himself, so he decided to offer a reward for that person who created something that would take away his boredom. That was where Brahman Sissa introduced him to what would be known today as chess.

This was presented to the king who was very pleased, he told Sissa that he could ask for whatever he wanted as thanks for the invention. He replied that he was only asking for a gold coin for the first square on the board and that the amount be doubled for the remaining squares until the 64 squares were completed.

Where was the word chess born?

The word chess dates back to the time of Alfonso X el Sabio.The king commissioned a book that became known as the Book of Games, dating from 1283, where the word chess is written as axedress or açedreces. This word comes from the Hispanic Arabic assatrang, which added the article to the classical Arabic ssitrang.

In this way the word crossed borders and from Hispanic Arabic to Spanish became the word we use today: axatraz = axedrez = chess.

Evolution of chess

Chess has become a valuable board game over time. After its first appearance in India, the game is believed to have spread to China, then to Russia and Persia where it is given the name chatrang, and is copied by the Arabs as shatranj.

By the 9th century, the figure of the bishop is represented by an elephant and instead of a queen a vizier (political advisers to a monarch or minister) is represented. His presence in Europe is thanks to the Spaniards, for this century the caliph Harun al-Rashid gave Charlemagne a board that is still preserved in the National Library of France.

By 1475, the queen of the board once again takes on her role and her plays that are known to this day. In 1497, the first book on chess is published in Salamanca. By 1851 the first chess match was held in the form of a tournament in London, where its winner called the immortal game. At world level the first championship was played in 1886.

Characteristics of the game of chess

This game consists of a board divided into 64 interleaved black and white squares. It has two groups of figures of 16 pieces each, these can be equally white or black. They are divided into 1 king, 1 queen or queen, 2 bishops, 2 knights. 2 rooks, 8 pawns and 2 players. It is not considered a game of chance but rather a rational one.

Your board reads as follows: the eight horizontal rows are called rows, the eight vertical rows are called columns, and the straight lines of squares of the same color running from one edge of the board to the other at an angle it's called diagonal.

Curious facts about chess

  • The expression Checkmate derives from the Persian word "shâhmâta" whose translation means “The king is dead”.
  • German mathematician and philosopher Emanuel Lasker was chess champion for 26 consecutive years.
  • The longest late move is attributed to player Trois from Brazil, which took 2 hours 20 minutes.
  • Russia is considered the country that has maintained the superiority of the chess grandmasters.
  • For 1861 a time limit was established for a painting of 24 movements, this was measured through a clock that represents 2 hours.
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