A brief history of Chess

Chess was developed in 6th Century AD in Gupta Empire of India — the game was known as Chaturanga. There is a mention of chess in a text from 500 AD — Subandhu’s Vasavadatta.

Krishna and Radha from Wikipedia
The time of the rains played its game with frogs for chessmen which yellow and green in color, as if mottled by lac, leapt up on the black field squares

In 7th Century AD it was adopted as Satranj in Sassanid Persia. Several variations of chess evolved in Persia. In these ancient forms of chess, the Queen would only move 1 step in any direction. The bishop could also move only 1 step diagonally.

Indian ambassador introducing chess to the Persian court

By 11th chess travelled to Europe through the Byzantine transmission.

The next big change in chess was around 1485, when the game of modern chess became popular and has almost the same rules till date. At some point, an unknown inventor in Italy or Spain bestowed the weakest non-pawn pieces on the board — Bishop and Queen — with new powers as in modern chess. The game became faster and much more intriguing. Though some variants in China and Japan had such pieces centuries earlier. It was a sexist society, so the excuse that Queen was now so much powerful than the King was explained with that she used her powers to protect her husband. This was also known as the Chess of the Mad Queen. Chess spread through Europe within the end of the next century.

Youtube: Francesco di Castellvi vs Narciso Vinyoles (1475)
The first recorded game of chess was Francesco di Castellvi vs Narciso Vinyoles (1475) and was recorded in a poem. Here is a youtube link to the 500 year old game recreated by a chess enthusiast and posted on youtube.

If you are interested in some latest variations of chess — you can play Halfchess . This variation of chess is mostly suited to mobile screens and quick game plays. People have much busier lives now, which can be a little more fun, if they play chess more often.

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