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  Category: Articles » Sports & Recreation » Article

Chess the Game of Kings

By david yuri

The game of chess has a long history. Though known and played all over the world, chess is supposed to have been born in India around 5000 years ago. The birth place of this amazing game was identified by a few early chess historians like Sir William Jones who wrote in 1763 the poem "Caissa" and in 1790 the paper "On the Indian game of Chess" and like Duncan Forbes who published "The history of Chess" in 1860. The problem with the origins of chess is that, no full set of pieces was discovered dating from that period of time. Some artifacts that archeologists identified as chess pieces might have served a different purpose than the one we suppose for the game of chess. H.J.R. Murray published in 1913 the 900 page book called "History of Chess" which is a complete work based on 14 years or research by using translations made by specialists of original documents from the best chess libraries. He underlined the fact that there is no physical evidence or document to demonstrate the existence of chess anywhere in the world for the period before the seventh century BC.

The earliest version that some believe to be the ancestor of chess was the Indian Chaturanga - a game that was played by four persons and which used dices dating as far back as 3000 BC. But Murray showed that this version came after the two player version. The time of the Persian Empire sets the bases of Chatrang as a game invented after a war between the two sons of a Queen, by the writings in the "Book of Kings" and the "Book of Deeds".

Until 656, the Persian Empire was conquered by the Moslem Empire. This was the time when the game Shatranj flourished and this is also the period of the first chess documents which attest characters that were known to play chess. During this time the game spread as far as Spain. Before these recordings, there were legends that said that the game was used to explain the death of one of the Persian Queen's sons who was killed by the other, or that the inventor of chess asked to be paid by a grain of cereal doubled on each of the 64 squares of the board that was used to play chess.

The literature of The Middle Ages gives us information about the chess game played at that time. There are even partial sets and pieces dating from that period to support its existence. The Einsiedeln Poem, also known as "Versus de scachis", written in 1000 A.D. describes in its 98 lines the game of chess, the rules by which to play chess and a few strategies. The way the pieces were named and the rules that were used to play chess show that the game's ancestor was the game of Shatranj. Chess arrived in Europe, in the Balkans in the time of the Byzantine Empire and up the Volga river trade route in Russia and Scandinavia, when Italy and Spain were conquered. The popularity of the game increased due to the interest of the nobility and of the upper classes.

At the end of the 15th century a lot of improvements were made to the game of chess by enhancing the power of some pieces, making the new game be more well-liked than the old one, making most people that were accustomed to play chess adopt the newer version and set aside the old one within just a few decades. The game earned its name - the Game of Kings - partially because crowned heads like Henry IV, Louis XIII, Elisabeth I, James I, Charles I and many others used to love to play chess.

In the 19th century, in London, everybody could play chess. A lot of clubs were brought into being because of the popularity of the game. Parsloe's was among the first chess clubs ever born in England and it was also the place where Frenchman Philidor used to amaze the public with exhibitions of 2-3 simultaneous blindfold games. There were a lot of matches between the English and the French, but many other countries soon developed great players, like Germany, Hungary and America. This is the time when the game became organized and all the rules that we now know and after which we play this beautiful strategic game were established.

The days of nobility chess playing have only begun. These days you can have your own set of pieces and a board to play with your friends or family in a nice mind working get-together. In fact you can just sit in front of your computer, log on to websites like and enjoy a nice game with people all over the world. Chess is so popular that you can even play it on your computer!
About the Author
Nowadays everybody can play chess. The new age of information and internet brings players from all over the world together for games of chess that everyone can enjoy. This game is indeed a wonder that most people should take pleasure in!

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