From what began as a game demonstrating a battlefield to being played by millions across the World, Chess is probably one of the most popular and challenging games in the modern era. Whether it is a group of enthusiastic teens or keen adults, Chess has won the hearts of all and has been a delightful pastime for ages. Its journey from a physical board game to playing the chess game online is an exemplary witness to how the game has evolved over the years and has been positively impacted by the changing eras of the world.
Here’s a glimpse of the origins and evolution of the ‘game of kings-chess’.
History of Chess-Who Invented Chess First
While there are several controversial theories on the origin of Chess, the most popular belief is that the game was first found in India in the early 6th century. Later on, due to Arab invasions, Chess spread to Persia and eventually to the other parts of the world.
Some researchers also believe that the initial origins were from china, after which, it spread to India and other Asian countries. A commander named ‘Han Xin’ is assumed to have invented Chess to demonstrate a battle to the warriors in 200 B.C. and immediately after the war; the game lost its identity. ‘XiangQi,’ i.e., ‘the elephant game’ is considered to be the modified version of that old game and is taken as the second origin of modern Chess. However, ‘XiangQi’ is not similar to the present day chess. It has a different board and game rules, for which the Chinese origin of Chess does not get many regards.
Indian Origins of Chess
The game of Chess is believed to have originated during the ‘Gupta Empire’ in India. It was in a fierce battle that the youngest prince of the dynasty was killed and his brother used an ‘ashtapada’, an 8×8 checkered board to demonstrate to his mother, the war scenario in which the prince was killed.
According to another famous historical story, it is considered that king Shahram and an intellectual in his kingdom could have brought the invention of Chess. In order to bring King Shahram to a realization that every resident in his ruling area was necessary, a wise man created a board game consisting of the King himself, his army, people, rooks, bishops, and the Queen. The King admired the game and was able to relate to the real-life circumstances, thus, understanding the value of every person in his dynasty.
From then, the King ordered his people to play the game and learn from it. He offered the wise man with abundant bounties in the form of gold and silver. But the wise man refused the reward and instead, proposed a challenge to the King. He asked the King to put a grain of wheat on the first square of the chessboard and keep doubling it as he proceeds to the next squares. When the King ordered his servants to fulfil the challenge, they said that they did not possess sufficient grain to accomplish the task; which made him realize the importance of little things in life. Hence, the wise man came up with the uniquely challenging game of Chess and taught the King valuable lessons for life.
To date, Chess is undeniably a game full of lessons, triggering players’ minds and enhancing their cognitive abilities to perform better in all aspects of their lives.
How Chess Spread to Persia, Europe, and other parts of the world
Chess spread to Persia from Northern India somewhere around the 6th to 7th centuries. It then took its course towards the middle-east and became extremely popular amongst the Muslim rulers. Straight from the Middle-east, it reached Russia and gradually encapsulated Western Europe enthralling famous Kings around the 10th century.
The Chinese and Japanese along the East-Asia regions were also influenced by the game and had developed their unique local versions of Chess. In the European countries, Chess evolved as a ‘Royal Game’ during the 15th century with Kings, namely, Henry I, Henry II, Ivan IV, Alphonso X, and Phillips II playing the game religiously.
While the popularity of Chess increased enormously every year, there were times when this game was banned. For instance, it was in the 13th century, when King Louis IX put a ban on Chess as he believed that the game distracted people from praying and termed it as ‘boring and useless’. However, the craze for the game was so deep-rooted that it eventually sprouted back and became the ‘game of kings and nobles’.
Where did the word ‘Chess’ come from?
The word ‘Chess’ originated from the Sanskrit word ‘Chaturanga’ which means four divisions, representing the war or battlefield essentials namely the cavalry, infantry, elephantry, and chariotry, belonging to the King. After the game had travelled to Persia, due to the Arabian influences, it began to be called ‘Shatranjh’; which was primarily due to the lack of ‘ng’ and ‘ch’ pronunciations in Arabic or Persian language.
Persian players, during the early development of the game in their country, began calling it as ‘Shah’ for the King’s attack on the opponent’s King and ‘Shah Math’, meaning, ‘the King is helpless’, when the opponents attacked the King. These are considered as the root words for the present day’s ‘check’ and ‘checkmate’.
The Modern Chess Game
Between the 15th and 16th centuries, Chess underwent enormous changes and was on its way to remarkable development. Tumbling all along, from being banned to being refurbished in the community, it was eventually in the 19th century, i.e., somewhere in the 1880’s that the modern chess game was standardized. The era was termed as the ‘Romantic Chess Era’, where players primarily depended on intuitive tactics and dynamic play.
In 1851, Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky played a chess match titled the ‘Immortal Game’, in which, Anderssen defeated his opponent despite losing his Queen and rooks. It was called the King’s Gambit, a very complicated tactic that gained immense popularity during those times. During this era, gradually, the very first world chess championship was held in the year 1886, and William Steinitz became the first-ever winner.
The evolution gradually paced up, and technology began to take over the gaming scenario. It was in 1997 that for the first time in human history a man lost to a computer in a chess championship. The IBM-developed computer, named ‘Deep Blue’ defeated the mastermind, Garry Kasparov.
The era of playing Chess Game Online
During the 20th century, technological advancements were growing rapidly. Consequently, it impacted Chess with the development of highly intelligent chess engines, databases, and other modern techniques. All of this marked the end of the ‘Romantic Chess Era’ and the beginning of the online era.
Playing the chess game online came up as the new trend, and with the likes of gaming platforms such as MPL or the Mobile Premier league, online Chess became further widespread. By downloading the MPL mobile game app, people can easily access the chess game online and play with friends from all over the world to win real cash rewards.
The origins of Chess give us a vivid idea of how the game developed and the purpose with which it began. Back then, it was a medium to communicate war strategies and was played for casual pastime. Fast forward to now, Chess still serves the same purpose of recreation and brings up additional advantages such as the brain and cognitive skills’ development. The game of kings was popular then, is famous now, and will continue to remain on the top in the future too.