History of chess

Tools of the Trade – Chess Equipment

Chess is not complete without its gears. Over the
years, little has changed to the equipments used for
chess games. The board and pieces, with the exception
of the rules, have remained slightly similar to its
predecessors. However, the trend of designing chess
sets has been practiced for several centuries. Themes
from different sources, be it literature, movie or
popular culture, were used to design the board and
pieces used for chess games.

The Chess Sets

There are several variations of designs for chess
sets. Basically, chess pieces used for the game are
figurines that are taller than they are wide. They are
also available in an array of designs. However,
probably the most popular design is the Staunton
design, after Howard Staunton, the 19th century
English chess player. Staunton designs were created by
Nathaniel Cook.

Staunton style chess sets were first seen in 1849 and
were created by Jaques of London. Since then, the
Staunton designs were considered as the standard
design used for actual chess games.

The demand for the universal model of chess pieces
were renewed during the late 18th century and early
19th century. During those times, chess was beginning
to become popular and gained interest particularly in
international plays. The styles and varieties of the
conventional form started in the 15th century and had
expanded by the beginning of the 19th century.

During that period, some of the most popular
conventional styles and chess sets were the English
Barleycorn, the French Regence, the St. George and the
Central European Selenus. Most of the pieces used were
tall, cumbersome during chess games and easily tipped.
However, the major disadvantage of such chess sets was
on the uniformity of the pieces. The game’s outcome
could be altered due to the player’s unfamiliarity
with the opponent’s pieces.

The Staunton Chess Set

The early 19th century called for the need of a
standard chess set with pieces that were universally
accepted by chess players of different backgrounds.
The first solution to the problem was released in 1849
by John Jaques of London, which was then the games and
sports manufacturers of Hatton Garden, London,
England. Although Nathaniel Cook was credited with the
Staunton design, it was believed that his
brother-in-law, John Jaques, conceived the design.

The Staunton chess design underwent several theories.
Firstly, the development of the set has utilized
prestigious architectural concepts. Since the
architects of London were influenced by the
neoclassical style of the Romans and Greeks, the
appearance of the new chessmen was based on this style
and the piece achieved what seemed to be symbols of
the Victorian society.

The second theory involved Jaques experimenting with a
design, which would not only be accepted by the
players but could also be produced at an affordable
price. Eventually, Jaques synthesized and borrowed
several elements from pre-existing sets to create a
new design that used universally acknowledged symbols
atop usual stems and bases. More so, the pieces were
compact, well-balanced and weighted to give a set that
was understandable as it was useful.

During the third theory, the Staunton design was the
combination of both theories with the synergy of
Nathaniel Cook and the artisan John Jaques.

The design was then patented in March 1, 1849;
Nathaniel Cook registered the Ornamental Design for
Chessmen. During that date, there was no provision for
the registration of any design of ivory and was only
limited to articles chiefly made of wood.

The World Chess Championship: Separating Pros from the Amateurs

The World Chess Championship is an event used to
determine the world champion in chess games. The event
allows both eligible men and women to compete for the
title. There is also a separate event for women, where
players vie for the title of Women’s Chess Champion.
For several years, the World Chess Championship has
produced a number of World Champions.

Birth of the Championship

Although it was believed that the official world
championship was held in the year 1886, where two
leading players of chess played a match, those events
were held in an informal basis. It was not until the
year 1943 when the FIDE, an international chess
organization, started administering world
championships.

Going back in 1886, there were several unofficial
champions that started with Wilhelm Steinitz; Wilhelm
competed against Johannes Zukertort. However, there
were other several players who were regarded as the
strongest and most famous in the world that extends
back hundreds of years beyond the two. More so, these
players were also considered as the world champions
during their time and include Ruy Lopez de Segura,
Paolo Boi, Leonardo da Cutri, Alessandro Salvio and
Gioachino Greco.

In the remainder of the nineteenth century, world
championships were held in an informal basis. The
matches were initiated by players who would look for
financial backing for a match purse and challenge the
reigning world champion; whoever beat the reigning
champion would be the new world champion. The systems
had no formal qualification procedures. Still, this
old tournament system produced several world champions
who were the strongest of their day.

FIDE-controlled events started during the year 1948,
where the reigning champion, Alexander Alekhine died
and threw the chess world into chaos. Because of his
death, the informal system was not suitable enough to
find for methods of producing a new world champion
since there was no one to challenge with.

During that time, the Soviet Union, regarded then as
the most powerful chess nation, joined the FIDE to
become a part in the process of selecting a new world
champion. The FIDE organized matches in the year 1948
between five of the world’s strongest players, namely
Vaisly Smyslov, Mikhail Botvinnik, Paul Keres, Max
Euwe, and Samuel Reshevsky. Mikhail won the tournament
and was declared the new world champion. FIDE then
continued to organize world championships thereafter.

The System for the World Championship

Because the informal system was not suitable enough to
be used for untimely events, like the player’s death,
a new system was introduced to determine how a player
can qualify for the world champion title. The new
system starts with the world’s strongest players being
seeded into Interzonal tournaments. Eventually, the
players would be joined by other players who qualified
from several Zonal tournaments. The leading finishers
of the Interzonal tournaments would qualify for the
Candidates event, which was originally a tournament
and later transformed into a series of knock-out
competitions. The player who won the Candidates
tournament would qualify for a match with the reigning
champion for the championship title.

If the reigning champion loses the matches, he will be
given the chance to play in a three-way event three
years later. The event would include the former
champion, his new successor, and the next challenger,
who is qualified to challenge the new world champion.
Currently, the world champion title is being held by a
player named Viswanathan Anand, who won the World
Chess Championship in 2007.

The Persian Chess Shatranj

Shatranj is the direct descendant of Chaturanga and
had become popular in the Middle East and Persia for
almost 1000 years. More so, the modern chess is also
believed to have gradually developed from Shatranj.

The term Shatranj was derived from the Sanskrit
Chaturanga, where chatu means four and anga means arm.
The game also came to Persia from India during the
early centuries of the Christian era. One of the
earliest references to chess found in Persia is the
book « Karnamak-i Artaxshir-i Papakan », which was
written around the 3rd to 7th century.

The game Shatranj adapted much of the rules of
Chaturanga, including the basic sixteen piece
structure. However, in later variants of the game, the
darker squares were eventually engraved. The Shatranj
also spread westward and achieved popularity and body
of literature on game strategy and tactics from the
8th century and onwards.

The Rules of Shatranj

Initially, the setup of the game is the same as modern
chess, although the position of the king of white
shah, on the left or right side was not entirely
established. Shatranj is played using pieces, such as:
the king or shah, the rukh or rook, the fers or
counselor, the pill or elephant, the faras or horse
and the baidak or pawns.

Almost all the movements of the Shatranj pieces are
similar to the modern chess with the exception of the
two square movement of the pawn during the first move.
There are also other differences of Shatranj compared
to the modern chess, such as: the castling, which was
not allowed but later invented. In the event of
stalemating, the opposing king will result in a win.
More so, if a player captures the entire opponent’s
pieces apart from the king, that player will normally
be declared the winner. However, if the opponent could
capture the last piece on the next move, the game will
result in a draw.

The game play of Shatranj includes the openings. These
were usually called tabbiyya or battle array, when
translated. However, due to the slow piece progress in
the game, the precise sequence of moves was
unimportant. Instead, the players aimed to reach a
specific position, mostly ignoring the play of their
opponent.

Additionally, the pieces used for Shatranj had values,
which used a monetary system. Such values include: one
dirhem for the rook, two-third dirhem for the knight,
one-fourth dirhem for the alfil, one-third to
three-eighth dirhem for the fers, one-fourth dirhem
for the central pawn, one-sixth to one-fifth dirhem
for the alfil’s or knight’s pawn and one-eighth dirhem
for the rook’s pawn.

These values were established and estimated by
as-Suli, who was the strongest Shantranj player during
the reign of al-Muktafi caliph, and al-Adli.

Early Beginnings of Shatranj

There are several works written about Shatranj during
the Golden Age of Arabic. These recorded the analysis
of opening games, knight’s tour, chess problems and
other subjects that are commonly found in modern chess
books.

Shatranj players who have the highest class were also
called grandees or aliyat. There were only a few
players that fell under this category and the most
well known are: Abun-Naam, Rabrab, and Jabir al-Kulfi,
who were the three aliyat players during the al-Ma’mun
caliph rule; Al-Lajlaj who was a great master of
Shatranj; and Ar-Razi who won 847 games against
powerful Shatranj opponents.

The Japanese Chess Shogi

In Japan, the most popular variant of chess is the
Shogi. The game was transmitted from India to Korea
and China before arriving in Japan. There are two
distinguishing characteristics of Shogi, such as: the
captured pieces can be utilized by the captor and
played as the part of the captor’s forces and pawned
can capture pieces normally, which is one square
straight ahead.

History of the Game

It is believed that Shogi is derived from Chaturanga,
which was played in Ancient India and eventually
spread throughout Eurasia. It is still not clear when
Shogi was brought to Japan.

Several theories regarding the spread of Shogi showed
that the game probably became popular during the 6th
century. Back then, the pieces were not the current
five-sided pieces but rather three-dimensional similar
to the Chaturanga pieces.

One of the oldest documents specifying the existence
of Shogi is the Kirinsho, which is a seven-volume work
that contains descriptions of how to write characters
for the pieces used in Shogi games. During the Heian
period, the Shogi pieces used consist of the king,
silver general, gold general, lance, knight and pawn.

The Rules of Shogi

Technically, Shogi is won when the king is captured
but there are also circumstances where the defeat is
conceded when the mate becomes inevitable. As for the
equipments of the game, the two players play on a
board, which is composed of squares in a grid
containing nine ranks by nine files. The squares are
also not undifferentiated by color or marking.

The players have a set of twenty pieces, slightly
different in sizes. The pieces include a rook, bishop,
king, two pieces of gold generals, two silver
generals, two lances, two knights and nine pieces of
pawns.

The several names are chosen to correspond to their
rough equivalents in international chess. Each of the
pieces has its name written on its surface in the form
of Japanese characters, called kanji. On the other
side of the piece are one or two characters that when
turned face up indicate promotion. The pieces
controlled by the two players also do not differ in
color; instead they face forward, toward the opposing
side.

For English-speaking players, the promoted bishops are
referred to as horses, while promoted rooks as
dragons. The characters on the other side of the
pieces may also be in red ink, usually written in a
cursive manner.

There are also rankings used in Shogi. These rankings
are also used in karate, calligraphy and other arts in
Japan.

For the placement of the pieces, the king is placed in
the center file. The gold generals are adjacent to the
king, while the silver ones are placed adjacent to the
gold generals. The knights are located beside the two
silver generals and the lances are situated in the
corners. As for the second rank, the bishops are at
the same file as the left knight, while the rook is in
the same file as the knight located on the right.

Like other chess games, each player take turns in
moving pieces. The player who first captures the
opponent’s king wins the game. However, this rarely
happens in practice since most players will concede
defeat when the loss in inevitable. More so, in
amateur and professional games, any player who makes
an illegal move loses automatically.

The Indian Chess Chaturanga

Chess, as well all know, is a recreational and
competitive sport played between two players.
Nowadays, it is sometimes referred to as international
chess or Western chess, which is actually used to
distinguish it from its predecessors and other
variants. More so, chess is one of the world’s most
popular games, played by millions of people in clubs,
online, tournaments and informally.

However, where did chess actually began? Who were the
first people ever to invent this intellectual sport
and what was its original purpose. The chess game was
thought to have originated in India or Afghanistan
before 600 A.D. However, there are several and
unverified claims stating that the game existed as
early as 100 A.D.

The Chaturanga

The chess game has been attributed to the Indians by
both the Arabs and the Persian people. However, the
main origin of the sport has been lost in antiquity.
Chess in Old Persian and Arabic are « chatrang » and
« shatranj » respectively. Both of these terms are
derived from the Sanskrit word « Chaturanga ».
Literally, the word Chaturanga means the army of four
divisions, constituting the cavalry, infantry,
elephant and chariots, which are now being
respectively represented by the knight, pawn, bishop
and rook.

Aside from chess, Chaturanga is also presumed to be
the common origin of the Japanese shogi, the Thai
makruk, the Chinese xiangqi and the Korean janggi. The
game was played since the early 6th century or
probably earlier, hence it is believed to be the most
common and oldest version of chess.

As previously mentioned, Chaturanga consists of the
cavalry, chariots, elephants and infantry, which
reflects the four divisions of the army in ancient
India. These are additional units besides the king and
his general or counselor in the center. The Infantry
is represented by the line of advancing pawns. Located
near the center of the army are war elephants. The
horse, with a flanking horse move, is represented by
the mounted cavalry and the chariots or ships, which
move hastily and in linear fashion.

Chaturanga was originally played in an eight-by-eight
un-checkered board, also known as the Ashtapada.
Additionally, the board has markers that have meanings
still unknown today. However, it is known that these
special markers are not related to Chaturanga and were
rather drawn only by tradition. Murray, a renowned
chess historian, speculated that the board was also
used for other dice-type games, in which the markers
it contains had meanings.

The Rules of Chaturanga

The exact rules of Chaturanga are yet to be known.
However, several chess historians believe that the
game has the similar rules to Shatranj, which is its
direct descendant. By using the rules of Shatranj, the
movements of the Chaturanga pieces can be mapped out.

The Raja or King moves like the King in modern chess.
The Senapati or General, also known as the Mantri or
Counselor, moves diagonally, occupying only a single
square. Like the Rook in modern chess, the Ratha or
Chariot moves on straight lines either horizontally or
vertically.

As for the Gaja or Elephant, there are three possible
moves that the piece makes, such as: two squares
diagonally, one square diagonally or forward, two
squares orthogonally.

The Horse of Ashva moves like the Knight. Foot
soldiers or the Pedati or Bhata are similar to the
pawns of modern chess.

The Chinese Chess Xiangqi

The Xiangqi falls under the same family as the
Chaturanga, Shogi, Janggi and Western chess. This is a
two-player chess game that originated in China and is
commonly known as the Chinese chess.

Xiangqi is one of the most popular board games in the
world. Features unique to the game is the movement of
the pao or cannon piece, the rule prohibiting the
generals or chess kings from directly facing each
other and the place and river features that restrict
the movement of some pieces.

History of Xiangqi

The game has a long history though the accurate origin
has not been definitely confirmed. However, earliest
indications reveal that Xiangqi may have been played
during the 4th century B.C. by the Lord of Mengchang,
Tian Wen.

The word Xiangqi can mean « figure game », which can be
treated as the « constellation game ». The boards used
for the game is also called as the « heavenly river »,
which may mean the Milky Way. More so, the early
versions of the game have been based on the movements
of the objects in the sky.

During the Song Dynasty, the game took three forms.
One of the forms consisted of thirty-two pieces, which
was played on a board consisting of nine horizontal
and nine vertical lines. Additionally, popular board
used during those days was the one without the river
borderline.

When the Qing Dynasty entered, the economic and
cultural progress gave way to the new stage of
Xiangqi. There are different schools of players and
circles that came into prominence. Along with the
popularity of the game, a number or manuals and books
regarding the techniques of playing the game were also
published. These publications played a vital role in
popularizing Xiangqi and improving the techniques used
in modern times.

Rules of Xiangqi

The board used in Xiangqi is nine lines wide and ten
lines long. The pieces are played on the intersections
or points. Files are the term used for the vertical
lines, while ranks are for the horizontal lines. It is
also possible to play Xiangqi in a standard chess set
but with few substitutions.

Two players control pieces located on either side of
the river. The pieces are also painted in red, while
the other player’s in black. The rules regarding who
moves first are varied throughout history and also
from one part of Chine to another. There are books
stating that the black moves first though others
indicate that the red should move first. More so,
there are other books referring to the two sides as
north and south.

The General are the equivalent of the King used in
Western chess. Much like the modern chess, when the
General is threatened by an enemy piece, it is « in
check ». Additionally, it can be checkmated when it is
unable to escape a check from an opponent.

The Guard or Advisor is the equivalent of the Queen
since most of their powers are similar to that of the
Western chess piece. The War Elephant or Minister move
two points diagonally and cannot cross rivers, thus
they usually serve as defensive pieces.

The Horse or Cavalry begins the game next to the
elephants and moves one point horizontally, vertically
or diagonally. The Chariot or Rook can move at any
distance either horizontally or vertically. The
movement of the Cannon or Catapult is similar to the
chariot but can capture by jumping at one piece over
its target. Lastly, The Private or Soldier can move
and capture by advancing one point similar to the
pawns.

Legendary Chess Greats

A game is not going to be memorable without its
respectable and great players. Over the course of
time, chess has produced some of the brightest minds
in board games. The discovery of these players was all
thanks to several international events organized by
the chess society. Several rankings are even used to
determine the quality and standing of the players,
which made them even more popular to both those who
play chess and those who simply admire the game.

The Rankings and Titles of Chess Players

Initiated by the FIDE, the best players are awarded
with specific titles. Firstly, the Grandmaster, also
known as the International Grandmaster, is usually
awarded to world-class masters of chess. This title,
apart from the World Champion, is the highest title
that a chess player can achieve. However, before FIDE
gives this title to a player, he must have a rating of
at least 2,500 at one time in the Elo chess rating.
More so, the player must also have three favorable
results in competitions involving other Grandmasters,
including those masters from countries apart from the
applicant’s.

Next is the International Master. With the minimum
rating of 2,400, the International Master has the same
conditions as the Grand Master and is also less
demanding. The FIDE Master is usually gained by
players who have achieved a FIDE Rating of equal to or
more than 2,300. The CM or Candidate Master, on the
other hand, is awarded to those who have a FIDE rating
of at least 2,200.

These titles are open to both men and women. There are
also separate women-only titles, like the Woman
Grandmaster, available.

Composers and solvers of chess problems are also
awarded with International titles. Additionally,
national chess organizations can also award titles
generally to advanced players, who are still under the
level required for international titles.

Some of the Best Chess Players of All Time

Probably one of the greatest natural talents of all
time, Capablanca was sometimes extremely lazy and
refused to read chess textbooks. Still, he made
considerable contributions to the opening theory. He
managed to score 318 wins, 249 draws and 34 losses in
matches and tournaments played between 1909 and 1939.
Capablanca was known for his ability to accurately and
instantly evaluate chess positions. Additionally, he
liked to control the position and focus on elements,
which he felt were necessary to gain victory.

Considered as the greatest tactician of all time,
Kasparov was the world champion title holder for 15
years. He held the title from 1985 to 2000, when he
was beaten by Kramnik. However, he dominated major
tournaments from the beginning of his reign as world
champion until 2001. He was known to have the ability
to see everything in all positions. Moreover, he was
also exuberant and had a photographic memory.

Botvinik is the only player to hold the world title in
three separate occasions. He was also a scientist,
which is a profession that usually showed through his
play style. The style used by Botvinik was to make
closed positions by flank maneuvers and movements.

Steinitz is known for his many bizarre chess
positions, which made him an unpredictable and dynamic
adversary. It was also believed that over the course
of twenty years, he stood higher above his
contemporaries than any other masters. He has the best
tournament record up to his defeat in the world
championship event in 1894. His greatest asset in
chess games was his flexibility as a master of
tactical and positional strategies.

Governing the Game Play – The World Chess Federation

In every game there is a governing body aimed at the
maintenance and regulation of the rules encompassing
the game. In chess, one of the governing bodies is the
FIDE or Federation Internationale des Echecs, most
commonly known as the World Chess Federation.
Organizations, such as the FIDE, were not the first to
document the rules of chess. It was as early as 1497,
when man named Luis Ramirez de Lucena authored a book
regarding chess rules.

However, the popularity of chess quickly rose and
tournaments and clubs were sprouting everywhere. This
event called for the standardization of the rules and
that is the main role of the governing body.

Founding of the FIDE

The World Chess Federation was formed on July 24, 1924
in Paris, France, with the motto « Gens una sumus »
meaning « We are one people ». Originally, their first
action to form an international federation for chess
started in April of 1914 at St. Petersburg. In July of
1914, another try was made in the Mannheim
International Chess Tournament. At the Gothenburg
Tournament, another attempt for the establishment of
an international chess federation was made yet again
in 1920.

It was not until 1922 when the then chess master
Eugene Znosko-Borovsky announced that the French Chess
Federation would host an international chess
tournament he would be participating at in Paris.
Finally, the participants of the Paris chess
tournament founded the World Chess Federation or FIDE
on July 20, 1924, originally as a union between chess
players.

Later on, several congresses have been made by the
FIDE, which expressed several issues regarding both
the federation and chess. The 1925 and 1926 FIDE
congresses were aimed in the desire to become involved
in the management of world chess championships. During
those years, they gladly adapted the London Rules for
chess tournaments.

During the third congress in 1926, the federation
decided to organize a Chess Olympiad. However, since
most of the invitations were sent late only four
countries participated, including Hungary, Yugoslavia,
Romania and Germany.

By the year 1927, the FIDE had begun organizing the
First Chess Olympiad; this was also the fourth
congress, which was held in London. Several titles had
been considered, such as: the World Team Championship
and the Tournament of Nations. However, only the name
Chess Olympiad became the most popular title of the
tournament.

Finally, during the year 1948, the FIDE had specified
the procedure as to how challengers for the World
Championship would be selected, specifically in a
three-year cycle. First, affiliated countries would
let players compete at Zonal Tournaments and those
that topped the tournament would enter Interzonal
events. Players who placed high in those events would
qualify for the Candidates Tournament, together with
whoever lost the previous match for the title and the
second-place competitor.

FIDE Today

During the 1970s, Max Euwe, then a president of the
FIDE, strove to increase in the number of member
countries in FIDE. The movement spearheaded by Max
Euwe eventually led to the presently 158 member
nations of FIDE.

It was in the year 1999 when the World Chess
Federation was recognized by the IOC or the
International Olympic Committee. Two years after that,
the federation introduced the committee’s anti-drugs
rules to chess as part of their campaign for the game
to become a part of the Olympic Games.

Chess Rules Then and Now

The exact origins of chess are still unclear though
others believe that the game was based on the Indian
Chaturanga, which literally means « four » and « arm ».
The ancient « chess » game used pieces that are slightly
similar to modern chess, as well as movements.
However, the rules of such a game are yet to be
clarified.

In every game there are rules and chess in not an
exception. In fact, there are several rules that
govern the competitive and recreational game. However,
the question really is, where did the rules came from
and how were they developed?

Early Chess Rules

During the 16th century, the rules of modern chess
took form in Italy. Since then, the rules of the game
have evolved continuously. Going back centuries in the
past, before the modern rules even took form in Italy,
chess was played very slowly, with some games lasting
for several days. There are other variations of the
rules that began to change the shape of the game
during the 1300s. The most notable, though originally
unpopular, change in the rules was the ability of the
pawn to move two squares during the first move instead
of one.

After 1475 A.D., there are new modifications in the
rules that further led to the evolution of the game.
For instance, the queen was introduced and made a
powerful new piece. This eventually led to the
additional value attached to the previously considered
minor tactic called the pawn promotion.

In Chaturanga, the war elephant has also evolved into
the bishop, thus providing more range. The noticeable
changes in the rules also gave way to the rise of
figures that are « unwarlike ». Eventually, chess moved
closer to the court and ordinary household due to the
departure of pure military symbolism to the game,
which was noticeably prevalent in India and Persia.

Rise of the Modern Chess Rules

Specifically during the Middle Ages, a new set of
rules for the game had emerged. Within this principle,
both the rook and the king acquired the privilege to
castle, which is a variation of the move, called
Castling. Since the pawns were given the chance to
move two squares during the first move, the en passant
rule was consequential. More so, the pawns gained the
capability to be promoted to a higher rank if they
were able to reach the eighth rank.

Aside from those rules, there are other three
guidelines that were introduced, which eventually
changed through the years. Firstly, there was the
stalemate rule that forever changed the outcome of
chess games several times. Secondly, the threefold
repetition was also added. Lastly, the fifty move rule
was also added, in which a draw can be claimed if
there has been no evident pawn movement and capture of
any piece during the last fifty numbers of moves.

Since then, the rules of the chess game have been
slightly altered until the early 19th century, during
which the game reached its current form. Nowadays, the
fundamental chess rules are widely accepted among both
international and national chess governing bodies,
like the USCF or the United States Chess Federation
and the FIDE or the World Chess Federation.

However, even if the rules of the chess game has
evolved, the basic objective of the game remains the
same – to threaten the opponent’s most valuable piece,
the king, with a checkmate.

A Brief Look on the History of Chess

Chess is a competitive game normally played between
two players. It is sometimes called the International
or Western chess. The recent form of the game emerged
in the southern part of Europe during the second half
of the fifteenth century. Nowadays, the chess is one
of the world’s most popular games.

Humble Beginnings

The game of Chess has been attributed both by the
Arabs and the Persian people to the Indians. Chess
then spread throughout the world and several variants
of chess soon began taking form. Chess was introduced
to the Near East from India and eventually became the
part of a courtly and princely education of the
Persian nobility. It is also known that the Silk Road
traders, Buddhist pilgrims and others carried the game
to the Far East where it was assimilated and
transformed into a game played on the intersection of
lines of the board rather than within the squares.

The game Chaturanga reached Europe through the
Byzantine and Arabian empire, and Persia. By the tenth
century, the Muslims carried the chess game to Sicily,
North Africa and Spain.

Later on, chess was extensively developed in Europe
during the late fifteenth century. Fortunately, the
game survived several series of prohibitions and
sanctions by the Christian Church.

When the game arrived in Europe it attained a social
value and seen as a prestigious pastime related with
high culture and nobility. This status of the game
explained the exquisite and expensively made
chessboards during the medieval era. The popularity of
the game in the Western society peaked during the
twelfth and fifteenth centuries.

Eventually, chess was incorporated into the knightly
lifestyle in Europe. In fact, Peter Alfonsi mentioned
in one of his books that chess is one the seven skills
required by an individual to be a good knight. Also,
the game became a subject of art during the period.
There are several monarchs, like Queen Margaret of
England who symbolized the position of chess in the
royal art treasures through jasper and crystal chess
sets.

Rise of Modern Chess

During the years 1834 and 1851, cutthroat chess became
noticeable through the London Chess tournaments, which
also made concern regarding the time taken by players
to move their pieces. It was realized that the players
normally took hours to analyze the moves and one
almost took nearly two hours and twenty minutes to
think over a single move during the tournament.

Fortunately, the development of speed chess was seen
during the following years, where the most popular
variant is the five-minute chess. There is also a
final variant that allowed a player who made the
predetermined amount of moves in the agreed time to
receive extra time budget for his or her next moves.

It was not until 1861 when the first time limits,
through the use of sandglasses, were used in a
tournament at Bristol. Later on, the sandglasses were
replaced by pendulums. During the turn of the 19th
century, a tiny latch, also known as flag, helped
settle the arguments over the players exceeding time
limit turn.

Also in the 19th century, position analysis became
popular. There is even a Russian composer with the
name of Vladimir Korolkov who created the « Excelsior »,
which stated that the White side wins only by creating
six consecutive captures by a pawn. Later, there are
several analysts who emerged, including Vasily
Smyslov, Jan Timman, and Mikhail Botvinnik.