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Sunday, October 20, 2013

History of Chess

Following info has been taken from Wikipedia
The history of chess spans some 1500 years. The earliest predecessor of the game probably originated in India, before the 6th century AD. From India, the game spread to Persia. When the Arabs conquered Persia, chess was taken up by the Muslim world and subsequently spread to Southern Europe. In Europe, chess evolved into roughly its current form in the 15th century. In the second half of the 19th century, modern chess tournament play began, and the first World Chess Championship was held in 1886. The 20th century saw great leaps forward in chess theory and the establishment of the World Chess Federation (FIDE). Developments in the 21st century include use of computers for analysis, which originated in the 1970s with the first programmed chess games on the market. Online gaming appeared in the mid-1990s.


The precursors of chess originated in India during the Gupta Empire,[2][3][4][5] where its early form in the 6th century was known as chaturaṅga, which translates as "four divisions (of the military)": infantry, cavalry, elephantry, and chariotry, represented by the pieces that would evolve into the modern pawn, knight, bishop, and rook, respectively.[6] According to chess historians Gerhard Josten and Isaak Linder, "the early beginnings" of chess can be traced back to the Kushan Empire in Ancient Afghanistan.[7][8] Chess was introduced to Persia from India and became a part of the princely or courtly education of Persian nobility.[9] In Sassanid Persia around 600 the name became chatrang, which subsequently evolved to shatranj, due to Arab Muslims' lack of ch and ng native sounds,[10] and the rules were developed further. Players started calling "Shāh!" (Persian for "King!") when attacking the opponent's king, and "Shāh Māt!" (Persian for "the king is helpless" – see checkmate) when the king was attacked and could not escape from attack. These exclamations persisted in chess as it traveled to other lands.

The game was taken up by the Muslim world after the Islamic conquest of Persia, with the pieces largely keeping their Persian names. The Moors of North Africa rendered Persian "shatranj" as shaṭerej, which gave rise to the Spanish acedrex, axedrez and ajedrez; in Portuguese it became xadrez, and in Greek zatrikion, but in the rest of Europe it was replaced by versions of the Persian shāh ("king"). Thus, the game came to be called ludus scacchorum or scacc(h)i in Latin, scacchi in Italian, escacs in Catalan, échecs in French (Old French eschecs); schaken in Dutch, Schach in German, szachy in Polish, šahs in Latvian, skak in Danish, sjakk in Norwegian, schack in Swedish, šakki in Finnish, šah in South Slavic languages, sakk in Hungarian and şah in Romanian; there are two theories about why this change happened: From the exclamation "check" or "checkmate" as it was pronounced in various languages. From the first chessmen known of in Western Europe (except Iberia and Greece) being ornamental chess kings brought in as curios by Muslim traders. The Mongols call the game shatar, and in Ethiopia it is called senterej, both evidently derived from shatranj. Chess spread directly from the Middle East to Russia, where chess became known as шахматы (shakhmaty, literally "checkmates", a plurale tantum). 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.[11] 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. Chess spread throughout the world and many variants of the game soon began taking shape.[12] Buddhist pilgrims, Silk Road traders and others carried it to the Far East where it was transformed and assimilated into a game often played on the intersection of the lines of the board rather than within the squares.[12][13] Chaturanga reached Europe through Persia, the Byzantine empire and the expanding Arabian empire.[14] Muslims carried chess to North Africa, Sicily, and Iberia by the 10th century.[12] The game was developed extensively in Europe, and by the late 15th century, it had survived a series of prohibitions and Christian Church sanctions to almost take the shape of the modern game.[15] Modern history saw reliable reference works,[16] competitive chess tournaments[17] and exciting new variants which added to the game's popularity,[17] further bolstered by reliable timing mechanisms (first introduced in 1861), effective rules[17] and charismatic players.[18]

The earliest precursor of modern chess is a game called chaturanga, which flourished in India by the 6th century, and is the earliest known game to have two essential features found in all later chess variations—different pieces having different powers (which was not the case with checkers and go), and victory depending on the fate of one piece, the king of modern chess.[12] The original chess board was mathematically revolutionary, as reported by the infamous Wheat and chessboard problem. A common theory is that India’s development of the board, and chess, was likely due to India’s mathematical enlightenment involving the creation of the number zero.[10] Other game pieces (speculatively called "chess pieces") uncovered in archaeological findings are considered as coming from other, distantly related board games, which may have had boards of 100 squares or more.[12] Findings in the Mohenjo-daro and Harappa (2600–1500 BCE) sites of the Indus Valley Civilization show the prevalence of a board game that resembles chess.[19] Chess was designed for an ashtāpada (Sanskrit for "having eight feet", i.e. an 8×8 squared board), which may have been used earlier for a backgammon-type race game (perhaps related to a dice-driven race game still played in south India where the track starts at the middle of a side and spirals into the center).[20] Ashtāpada, the uncheckered 8×8 board served as the main board for playing Chaturanga.[21] Other Indian boards included the 10×10 Dasapada and the 9×9 Saturankam.[21] Traditional Indian chessboards often have X markings on some or all of squares a1 a4 a5 a8 d1 d4 d5 d8 e1 e4 e5 e8 h1 h4 h5 h8: these may have been "safe squares" where capturing was not allowed in a dice-driven backgammon-type race game played on the ashtāpada before chess was invented.[20] The Cox-Forbes theory, started in the late 19th century, mainly from the works of Captain Hiram Cox and Duncan Forbes, proposed that the four-handed game chaturaji was the original form of chaturanga.[22] Other scholars dispute this and say that the two-handed form was the first.[23] In Sanskrit, "chaturanga" (चतुरङ्ग) literally means "having four limbs (or parts)" and in epic poetry often means "army" (the four parts are elephants, chariots, horsemen, foot soldiers).[9] The name came from a battle formation mentioned in the Indian epic Mahabharata.[12] The game Chaturanga was a battle simulation game[9] which rendered Indian military strategy of the time.[24] Some people formerly played chess using a die to decide which piece to move. There was an unproven theory that chess started as this dice-chess and that the gambling and dice aspects of the game were removed because of Hindu religious objections.[25] Scholars in areas to which the game subsequently spread, for example the Arab Abu al-Hasan 'Alī al-Mas'ūdī, detailed the Indian use of chess as a tool for military strategy, mathematics, gambling and even its vague association with astronomy.[26] Mas'ūdī notes that ivory in India was chiefly used for the production of chess and backgammon pieces, and asserts that the game was introduced to Persia from India, along with the book Kelileh va Demneh, during the reign of emperor Nushirwan.[26] In some variants, a win was by checkmate, or by stalemate, or by "bare king" (taking all of an opponent's pieces except the king). In some parts of India the pieces in the places of the rook, knight and bishop were renamed by words meaning (in this order) Boat, Horse, and Elephant, or Elephant, Horse, and Camel, but keeping the same moves.[20] In early chess the moves of the pieces were: Original name Modern name Version Original move King King all as now Adviser Queen all one square diagonally, only Elephant Bishop Persia and west two squares diagonally (no more or less), but could jump over a piece between an old Indian version two squares sideways or front-and-back (no more or less), but could jump over a piece between southeast and east Asia one square diagonally, or one square forwards, like 4 legs & trunk of elephant Horse Knight all as now Chariot Rook all as now Foot-soldier Pawn all one square forwards (not two), capturing one square diagonally forward; promoted to queen only. Two Arab travelers each recorded a severe Indian chess rule against stalemate:[27] A stalemated player thereby at once wins. A stalemated king can take one of the enemy pieces that would check the king if the king moves.

The Karnamak-i Ardeshir-i Papakan, a Pahlavi epical treatise about the founder of the Sassanid Persian Empire, mentions the game of chatrang as one of the accomplishments of the legendary hero, Ardashir I, founder of the Empire.[29] The oldest recorded game in chess history is a 10th-century game played between a historian from Baghdad and a pupil.[14] A manuscript explaining the rules of the game called "Matikan-i-chatrang" (the book of chess) in Middle Persian or Pahlavi still exists[citation needed]. In the 11th century Shahnameh, Ferdowsi describes a Raja visiting from India who re-enacts the past battles on the chessboard.[26] A translation in English, based on the manuscripts in the British Museum, is given below:[29] One day an ambassador from the king of Hind arrived at the Persian court of Chosroes, and after an oriental exchange of courtesies, the ambassador produced rich presents from his sovereign and amongst them was an elaborate board with curiously carved pieces of ebony and ivory. He then issued a challenge: "Oh great king, fetch your wise men and let them solve the mysteries of this game. If they succeed my master the king of Hind will pay tribute as an overlord, but if they fail it will be proof that the Persians are of lower intellect and we shall demand tribute from Iran." The courtiers were shown the board, and after a day and a night in deep thought one of them, Bozorgmehr, solved the mystery and was richly rewarded by his delighted sovereign. (Edward Lasker suggested that Bozorgmehr likely found the rules by bribing the Indian envoys.) The Shahnameh goes on to offer an apocryphal account of the origins of the game of chess in the story of Talhand and Gav, two half-brothers who vie for the throne of Hind (India). They meet in battle and Talhand dies on his elephant without a wound. Believing that Gav had killed Talhand, their mother is distraught. Gav tells his mother that Talhand did not die by the hands of him or his men, but she does not understand how this could be. So the sages of the court invent the game of chess, detailing the pieces and how they move, to show the mother of the princes how the battle unfolded and how Talhand died of fatigue when surrounded by his enemies.[30] The poem uses the Persian term "Shāh māt" (check mate) to describe the fate of Talhand.[31] The philosopher and theologist Al-Ghazali mentions chess in The Alchemy of Happiness (c. 1100). He uses it as a specific example of a habit that may cloud a person's good disposition:[32] Indeed, a person who has become habituated to gaming with pigeons, playing chess, or gambling, so that it becomes second-nature to him, will give all the comforts of the world and all that he has for those (pursuits) and cannot keep away from them. The appearance of the chess pieces had altered greatly since the times of chaturanga, with ornate pieces and chess pieces depicting animals giving way to abstract shapes.[33] This is because of a Muslim ban on the game’s lifelike pieces, as they were said to have brought upon images of idolatry.[10] The Islamic sets of later centuries followed a pattern which assigned names and abstract shapes to the chess pieces, as Islam forbids depiction of animals and human beings in art.[33] These pieces were usually made of simple clay and carved stone.[33]

As a strategy board game played in China, chess is believed to have been derived from the Indian Chaturanga.[34] Chaturanga was transformed into the game xiangqi where the pieces are placed on the intersection of the lines of the board rather than within the squares.[12] The object of the Chinese variation is similar to Chaturanga, i.e. to render helpless the opponent's king, known as "general" on one side and "governor" on the other.[34] Chinese chess also borrows elements from the game of Go, which was played in China since at least the 6th century BC. Owing to the influence of Go, Chinese chess is played on the intersections of the lines on the board, rather than in the squares. The game of Xianqi is also unique in that the middle rank represents a river, and is not divided into squares.[35] Chinese chess pieces are usually flat and resemble those used in checkers, with pieces differentiated by writing their names on the flat surface.[34] An alternative origin theory contends that chess arose from Xiangqi or a predecessor thereof, existing in China since the 3rd century BC.[36] David H. Li, a retired accountant, professor of accounting and translator of ancient Chinese texts, hypothesizes that general Han Xin drew on the earlier game of Liubo to develop an early form of Chinese chess in the winter of 204–203 BC.[36] The German chess historian Peter Banaschak, however, points out that Li's main hypothesis "is based on virtually nothing." He notes that the "Xuanguai lu," authored by the Tang Dynasty minister Niu Sengru (779–847), remains the first real source on the Chinese chess variant xiangqi.[37]

A prominent variant of chess in East Asia is the game of Shogi, transmitted from India to China and Korea before finally reaching Japan.[38] The two distinguishing features of Shogi are: 1) the captured pieces may be reused by the captor and played as a part of the captor's forces, and 2) pawns capture as they move, one square straight ahead.[38]

Chess is recorded from Mongolian-inhabited areas, where the pieces are now called: King: Noyon – Ноён – lord Queen: Bers / Nohoi – Бэрс / Нохой – dog (to guard the livestock) Bishop: Temē – Тэмээ – camel Knight: Morĭ – Морь – horse Rook: Tereg – Тэрэг – cart Pawn: Hū – Хүү – boy (the piece often showed a puppy) Names recorded from the 1880s by Russian sources, quoted in Murray,[20] among the Soyot people (who at the time spoke the Soyot Turkic language) include: merzé (dog), täbä (camel), ot (horse), ōl (child) and Mongolian names for the other pieces. The change with the queen is likely due to the Arabic word firzān or Persian word farzīn (= "vizier") being confused with Turkic or Mongolian native words (merzé = "mastiff", bar or bars = "tiger", arslan = "lion").[20] Chess in Mongolia is now played following the usual international rules
East Siberia

Chess was also recorded from the Yakuts, Tunguses, and Yukaghirs; but only as a children's game among the Chukchi. Chessmen have been collected from the Yakutat people in Alaska, having no resemblance to European chessmen, and thus likely part of a chess tradition coming from Siberia.[2
Arab World

Chess passed from Persia to the Arab world, where its name changed to Arabic shatranj. From there it passed to Western Europe, probably via Spain. Over the centuries, features of European chess (e.g. the modern moves of queen and bishop, and castling) found their way via trade into Islamic areas. Murray's[20] sources found the old moves of queen and bishop still current in Ethiopia. The game became so popular it was used in writing at that time, played by nobility and regular people. The poet al-Katib once said, “The skilled player places his pieces in such a way as to discover consequences that the ignorant man never sees... thus, he serves the Sultan’s interests, by showing how to foresee disaster.” [10]

Early History
Shatranj made its way via the expanding Islamic Arabian empire to Europe.[14] It also spread to the Byzantine empire, where it was called zatrikion. Chess appeared in Southern Europe during the end of the first millennium, often introduced to new lands by conquering armies, such as the Norman Conquest of England.[15] Chess remained largely unpopular in Northern Europe but started gaining popularity as soon as figure pieces were introduced.[15] In the 14th century, Timur developed his own variation of the game which is commonly referred to as Tamerlane Chess. This complex game involved each pawn having a particular purpose, as well as additional pieces.[39] The sides are conventionally called White and Black. But, in earlier European chess writings, the sides were often called Red and Black because those were the commonly available colors of ink when handwriting drawing a chess game layout. In such layouts, each piece was represented by its name, often abbreviated (e.g. "ch'r" for French "chevalier" = "knight"). The social value attached to the game – seen as a prestigious pastime associated with nobility and high culture – is clear from the expensive and exquisitely made chessboards of the medieval era.[40] The popularity of chess in the Western courtly society peaked between the 12th and the 15th centuries.[41] The game found mention in the vernacular and Latin language literature throughout Europe, and many works were written on or about chess between the 12th and the 15th centuries.[41] Harold James Ruthven Murray divides the works into three distinct parts: the didactic works e.g. Alexander of Neckham's De scaccis (approx. 1180); works of morality like Liber de moribus hominum et officiis nobilium sive super ludo scacchorum (Book of the customs of men and the duties of nobles or the Book of Chess), written by Jacobus de Cessolis; and the works related to various chess problems, written largely after 1205.[41] Chess terms, like check, were used by authors as a metaphor for various situations.[42] Chess was soon incorporated into the knightly style of life in Europe.[43] Peter Alfonsi, in his work Disciplina Clericalis, listed chess among the seven skills that a good knight must acquire.[43] Chess also became a subject of art during this period, with caskets and pendants decorated in various chess forms.[44] Queen Margaret of England's green and red chess sets – made of jasper and crystal – symbolized chess's position in royal art treasures.[42] Kings Henry I, Henry II and Richard I of England were chess patrons.[12] Other monarchs who gained similar status were Alfonso X of Castile and Ivan IV of Russia.[12] Saint Peter Damian denounced the bishop of Florence in 1061 for playing chess even when aware of its evil effects on the society.[15] The bishop of Florence defended himself by declaring that chess involved skill and was therefore "unlike other games," and similar arguments followed in the coming centuries.[15] Two separate incidents in 13th century London involving men of Essex resorting to violence resulting in death as an outcome of playing chess further caused sensation and alarm.[15] The growing popularity of the game – now associated with revelry and violence – alarmed the Church.[15] The practice of playing chess for money became so widespread during the 13th century that Louis IX of France issued an ordinance against gambling in 1254.[40] This ordinance turned out to be unenforceable and was largely neglected by the common public, and even the courtly society, which continued to enjoy the now prohibited chess tournaments uninterrupted.[40]

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