Chess is the oldest table game in the world and has been around longer than anyone else today. It is recorded as having first appeared in India over 1000 years ago, when it was called chaturanga. Two players play modern chess on a 64-square board with white and black pieces.The game ends when one of the players captures his opponent’s king piece. Or if one of the players forfeits or both players agree to a draw, the game is also considered to be over.
Chess is considered one of the most popular and best-loved games in the world. The United Nations reports that nearly 605 million people worldwide (about 8% of the world’s population) play chess regularly. While some games spend a few years on store shelves before slipping into obscurity, chess has withstood the test of time.
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Where Is Chess Originated
Given the age of chess, its exact origins are difficult to pinpoint. While no one person can be considered the sole creator of chess, most historians believe that the game originated in India.
The Sanskrit name “chaturanga” translates roughly as the four members of an army. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the four members are the elephant, the horse, the chariot, and the foot soldier. The earliest iterations of chess, including the earliest known version, date back to 760 AD, according to the Chess Center, and contain chariot and elephant pieces. These pieces were ultimately substituted by the rook and bishop, separately.
Not all historians, however, consider chess to have originated in India. In a 1996 article, Spanish chess player and historian Ricardo Calvo wrote: “most certainly it was invented in Iran.” This conclusion is mainly based on the fact that chess is mentioned in ancient Persian literature earlier than in Indian literature. Nevertheless, the general consensus still holds that the game was invented in India. In fact, the proponents of the Persian origin story tend to be from Iran, so it may not be entirely fair.
When Chess Was Invented
There is no credible evidence that chess existed in a form close to the modern game before the 6th century. Since then, the game has been constantly evolving. Different cultures have brought in some variations over the centuries.
Over time, chess grew more standardized. Regan emphasizes the impact of the 15th century mathematician Luca Pacioli, who wrote “De ludo schacorum” (On the game of chess). This manuscript was also called “Schifanoia” (boring dodger). It quickly became the bible of chess, essentially codifying a game that until then had been subject to many regional differences.
Why has chess been popular so long? Why is it more widespread than other ancient games? For example, Go, considered the world’s oldest board game with about 60 million regular players, has only about one-tenth the number of chess players.
Basic Chess Rules
Each player plays one move in turn. Players cannot select to skip a turn. They must move a piece. Each piece has a specific way of moving and must move in accordance with its legal way of moving. No piece can pass through a piece of either color except for the knight who can skip pieces, otherwise they will stop (if they are of the same color) or capture them (if they are of the opposite color).
How to capture discs
If a piece falls on a blank space with an opponent’s piece, that piece is captured and removed from the board. A piece cannot be on the same square as a piece of the same color. When a piece captures an opponent’s piece, it must complete its present move and finish the player’s turn.
How to move chess pieces
Pawns move forward one square in a straight line. They cannot move sideways, diagonally or backwards. An exception is if a pawn has not been moved yet in the game. If a pawn has not been moved yet, it may move forward two squares as a move. These two squares must be empty. The player may also select to move the pawn one square.
A pawn can only move diagonally when it captures an opponent’s piece. A pawn can capture an opponent’s piece on any diagonal space to the left or right of the opponent’s piece. As part of the capture, the pawn will move diagonally to take the place of the captured piece. A pawn can’ t capture an adjacent piece in any other position, nor can it move diagonally without capturing a piece.
- Rooks (castles)
A rook moves any number of squares horizontally along its current row (rank) or column (file). It cannot move through pieces of the same color. However, it can capture a piece of the opposite color by being moved to an occupied space. It cannot move on the diagonal by any reason.
The knight is the only piece that can jump over other pieces to cross them. It can capture pieces by landing on a space occupied by a piece of the opposite color, just like a normal piece. It cannot move to a space occupied by a piece of the same color, but can move on a piece of either color during the move.
A knight can always move to the nearest position that is not on its current row (rank), column (file) or diagonal that is directly adjacent to it. A knight must move the full distance. It cannot move only two squares in a straight line without moving one to the side.
The bishop can move along the diagonal for any number of squares. It means that it moves always along the diagonal of the square that matches the color of its current square. Each player starts the game with a bishop that can be moved on each color. The bishop cannot move horizontally or vertically with any reason. It cannot move across a piece of the same color and capture that piece by moving to the square of a piece of the opposite color.
The queen can move in horizontal, vertical or diagonal lines for any number of squares. These moves must be made in a straight line during a turn. The Queen cannot move across pieces of the same color and capture a piece by moving to the square of a piece of the opposite color.
The king is moved one space horizontally, vertically or diagonally. The king can’ t move to a space that would give the opposing player a check or checkmate. The king may never be captured. When the king is checkmated, the player loses the game. This will result in the opponent being inevitably captured on the next turn.