An Easy Guide To Understanding The History Of Chess

Chess has a long history, spanning decades and centuries! Chess is well-known across the world and is played by a large number of people, yet its origins and roots are unclear and hotly debated. Starting with controversy over where it came from and concluding with when chess began, there is a range of tales, anecdotes, and simple guesses.

As a result, here is an article that will serve as a complete guide to knowing the history of chess to assist you in becoming more familiar with the game.

Indian Legend

Before the 600s AD, chess as we know it evolved from the Indian game chaturanga. Over the next several decades, the game expanded throughout Asia and Europe, eventually evolving into what we now know as chess around the 16th century.

But it got its modern name and vocabulary when it spread to Sassanid Persia: “chess” is derived from “shah,” which means “king,” and “checkmate” is derived from “shah mat,” which means “the king is helpless.”

One legend tells of Shahram, a harsh Indian monarch, and a clever man in his country. The wise man wished to persuade Shahram of the value of each of his kingdom’s citizens.

As a result, he devised a game to symbolize the kingdom, which included the king, his queen, rooks, bishops, knights, and pawns, all of whom were vital.

The monarch enjoyed the game and recognized that it was similar to real life. As a result, he ordered that everyone in his realm play chess! 


Since the chaturanga times, the pieces’ appearance has fluctuated between basic and elaborate. Before 600 CE, basic designs evolved into figurative sets representing animals, soldiers, and noblemen. However, because of the Islamic ban on depictions of live beings, Muslim sets from the 9th to 12th century were frequently nonrepresentational and fashioned of basic clay or carved stone. The reintroduction to simpler, symbolic shatranj pieces is thought to have boosted the game’s appeal by making sets easier to put together and diverting focus away from the complicated pieces to the game itself. 

By 1000 CE, playing boards with black and white, or red and white, squares had become popular, and they were frequently fashioned of exquisite wood or marble. You can read this wood chessboard guide to learn more about this particular style that has been present since the very beginning of the chess game and remains popular even nowadays. Also, you can learn how to pick the one that will be best for enhancing your gaming experience. 

Nathaniel Cook, an Englishman, created the standard for contemporary sets in 1835 with a basic design. The design was sponsored by Howard Staunton, the world’s finest player at the time when it was copyrighted in 1849; as a result of Staunton’s widespread marketing, it became known as the Staunton pattern. In today’s international competitions, only sets based on the Staunton design are permitted.

Chinese Legends

Some people claim chess originated in India, while others believe it was established in China.

Chess was invented around 200 B.C. by a general named Hán Xin to represent a specific battle, according to legend.

The game was renamed “XiangQi,” which means “elephant game,” and lost its connection to the old war. The elephant game was significantly different from the modern chess game.

Modern Times

The game was brought to Russia in the 9th century. The game immediately became popular across the country, and people enthusiastically embraced the new pastime. Chess was amazing because it could be played by anybody from any class. This allowed the game to truly take off during these years and expand all over the globe.

Chess first began to take on its present shape in Europe. The game had become an element of courtly education by 1000 AD. The game migrated from royal courts to coffee houses during the Enlightenment. Chess was now considered a creative outlet, with daring moves and theatrical plays encouraged.

The twentieth century saw significant advancements in chess theory, as well as the formation of the World Chess Federation (FIDE). The use of computers for analysis, which began in the 1970s with the release of the first programmed chess games, is one of the most significant developments of the twenty-first century. In the mid-1990s, online gaming became popular.

Chess is a classic two-player strategic game that is said to have originated many centuries ago in India. To secure the win, you must “checkmate” your opponent by positioning your pieces in such a way that their king confronts an insurmountable danger of capture. Despite the fact that it has a simple set of rules, it requires a good strategy to overcome a skilled opponent, thus, you’ll be successful in challenging other players and win after understanding the fundamental rules and playing practice games.

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