Who invented chess: a brief and clear history of its origins

Posted on Aug 5, 2022      66

The game of chess has existed for a thousand and a half years. It is played in every corner of the globe, so there are several variants of the game. They differ slightly from each other, the basic rules are the same everywhere, the aim of the game is the same - to checkmate the opponent’s king.

But how did this fascinating game come about?

Who invented chess: History of origin?

The history of the origin of chess is a big mystery, the exact answer to which no scientist can give, but the work and research on the subject are underway.

Chess got its name from the Persian expression “checkmate”, which means ruler defeated.

It is impossible to name the exact period when chess appeared. There are many disputes on the subject. Some scientists agree and assert that this game first appeared in the first century A.D. in India.

It is assumed that the chess game was the prototype of wars and battles, but without victims. That is why many rulers were interested in this game, because they could solve all the issues without losing a single warrior.

Researchers suggest that chess, which has come down to our time, descended from the ancient game of Chaturanga. All the rules of the game have not been preserved, but it is known that in chaturanga used such pieces as the raja (or king), his moves were carried out in the same way as in modern chess. The only difference is that in the ancient game there was no castling.

The councillor, aka queen, moved only one square horizontally, the knight and rook, called the chariot, moved similar to modern rules. Pawns could move only one square forward. In addition, in Chaturanga there was a piece of bishop, but the rules of its movement are difficult to judge unequivocally, since different sources describe different schemes.

The major difference between the ancient Indian game and modern chess is known. Chaturanga could be played by four players, and black, green, red and yellow pieces were used. And also the moves were not generated by the players, and dice.

The first version of the origin

There is an interesting legend about the origin of the game of chess. One day Raja was tired of campaigns and conquests and ordered to invent a new game for him, for which he gave three days and three nights. Many tried to surprise and interest Raja, but all attempts were unsuccessful. One day a brahmin came to the palace; he brought with him a board painted in a cage and wooden pieces.

The ruler liked the game very much, and the peasant asked for a simple reward - grains of wheat, but their number must double with each cell. If on the first square Raja put one grain, on the second two, on the third four and so on, until the entire board was filled. At first, the governor laughed at the peasant, but then realized that no one in the world has so many grains.

(With a little effort, you can calculate that the total is eighteen quintillion four hundred forty-six quadrillion seven hundred forty-four trillion seventy-three billion seven hundred nine million five hundred fifty-one thousand six hundred fifteen grains or, simply put, about one thousand two hundred trillion tons.) Unable to thank the brahmin as he wished, the raja gave him all his wheat supplies.

The second version of the origin

According to another version of the same legend, the Shah came to the palace with wooden figurines, which Raja resented because everyone else was bringing him gold. The Shah explained to the ruler that in this case the gold comprised wisdom.

Raja loved the game. He was defeated in the first game, but in subsequent games he thought each move through carefully and won. Raja shouted “check!” when he threatened the king of the opponent, which means “king” in Persian, and when he prevailed, he said “checkmate!”, which can be translated as “death to the king”, which is how the name of the game came about.

How chess spread.

From India, the game made its way west and east. Persian chronicles have been found that tell how the people of India presented the gift of chess to the Persian king in the sixth century. Then, the game came to the countries of Southeast Asia, where it also underwent its own changes. In the eighth century, the game became known in the Arabs conquered Spain.

Only in the fifteenth century, chess took the form that we know now. But all the same, in some places, remained their own quaint rules.

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