The history of chess
- It began in India
- The game came to Persia
- The Arabs and their masters
- The Europeans developed chess further
- The Great masters of chess
In the 6th century (BC) the game "Chaturanga" came into existence. The name Chaturanga, literally translated "of four parts", means "army" or "war game". At that time the Indian military had four kinds of troops:
The game was played by four with dice. Two players were united. A figure's movement depended on a roll of the dice.
In the time immediately before the 6th century, a short time before it reached Persia; the primordial chess changed from a gambling game with four players to a game of intelligence with only two players.
In the 6th century chess reached Persia in the newest variation at that time. The old Indian names were translated into their own language by the Persians. They developed the game further: The shout "check" (out of Shah, King) and "check mate" (out of math, helpless) were invented. The defeated king was not beaten any more, but he was set in mate. Also a new figure was added, the advisor. The queen would develop out of it.
But the Persians didn't have much time to change the check because in 614 the Arabs conquered their land.
As fast as the Arabs conquered Persia they acquired chess. Already in the 8th century, check was mentioned in Arabic literature.
The Arabs were very serious players. They wrote many chess books and invented the algebraic notation. There were competitions and tournaments at the courts of the Caliphs. Out of these tournaments the oldest chess masters arose: Al-Adli, Ar Razi and As-Suli. It was natural that women also played. It is written in many poems that many chess players lost their games because they were disturbed by pretty women.
The Arabs were very interested in problematic end game positions with the model "mate in x moves". They were called "Mansuben". The middle-game developed very slowly, because the elephants (bishops) and the advisor (Queen) could only move one field at a time.
The Arabian players thought that was not necessary to play the game from the beginning on because some moves have already been fixed (just like the opening theory of our days). Before they start playing they decided out of which position ("Tabija") should be played. Such positions were called "sword" or "the lively".
Since the 8th century, the Arabs have ruled the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily and Sardinia. There was a cultural interchange between Europe and Arabia that enriched the western world incredibly. Chess came to Europe between 700 and 900. The oldest written European reference dates from the year 1008, and in the 11th century the game was already generally known.
The interests of the high Middle Ages were the problems of the endgame similar to the Arabic tradition. Chess was still played in the Arabian style. The names of some pieces were changed because the craftsmen changed the pieces so much that their origins were unrecognizable.
At the end of the 15th century Spanish masters changed the rules and "speed chess" came into existence. The characteristics of this development were the stronger Queen and Bishop, who could now move more than only one field. Also, tournaments slowly developed. By the year 1467, the first known chess tournament of Middle - Europe was held in Heidelberg (G).
Because of the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg, chess literature could spread very quickly. As a result of this, the chess rules could now be standardized and developed. In Italy and Spain, the chess-centers of that time, castling was set, a rule that remains unchanged to this day. This happened in the 16th century.
With the Frenchman François André Philidor (1726 - 1795) a new age was started. After he had beaten Stamma and Légal he was known as the strongest player of his time. Because of him, London and Paris became the centers of chess. Philidor played methodically: he discovered the value of the pawn.
Howard Staunton, the godfather of the modern chess pieces, organized an international chess tournament in London in 1851. The tournament was surprisingly won by the German mathematics-professor Adolf Anderssen who became the first, if unofficial, world champion of modern chess history.
On the 20th of July 1924 the FIDE ("Fédération Internationale des Échecs"), the world chess organization, was founded. The headquarters was in Lucerne until 1992, then in Athens. It contains 114 nations, which are divided into eleven zones. Every three years there are tournaments in each zone. The winners play in candidate tournaments and establish the challenger for the world champion title. Since the summer of 1999, Alexander Khalifmann has been the world champion of the FIDE. Gary Kasparow, who often disagreed with the decisions of the FIDE, founded, together with the British Nigel Short, the PCA (Professional Chess Association) in 1993. After the victory over Short, Kasparov became the world champion of the PCA.