A Brief Look on the History of Chess

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

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.