History of Chess

Early History of Chess

Chess is considered to be one of the most ancient games in the world as it originated many centuries ago. Moreover, this game offers a large scope of opportunities as it stimulates the development of numerous mental abilities including creativity, imagination, critical analysis, self-motivation, concentration, attention to details, and abstract reasoning. Besides, it teaches people to focus on the most important things and, at the same time, eliminate unnecessary distractions. The origin and development of chess is a controversial issue, as there are numerous legends and tales about the invention of this game. The given paper determines and analyzes the early history as well as the modern development of chess.

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It is extremely important to note that the true origin of such game as chess is a controversial issue because of numerous written records that provide ambiguous and obscure information. Furthermore, according to the opinions of the researchers, numerous chess variants contribute to the increased debate. The first documented official records of chess provide enough proofs that such countries as Persia, India, as well as China may be referred to as the “birthplaces” of this “mental game” (Bird, 2002). According to the estimations of scientists, chess was invented on the territory of the Northern India in the sixth century. With time, this intellectual game was spread to Persia. Besides, when the Arabs successfully conquered Persia, this game was transferred to and developed in the Muslim world (Bird, 2002). However, it did not have a chance to develop in a peaceful way there as the Quran imposed a ban on the use of images of human beings as well as animals. Consequently, the proponents of chess decided to change and redevelop the design of chess pieces. As a result, the images of people and animals obtained abstract shapes. Moreover, the game pieces were produced from inexpensive material that consequently resulted in the increased popularity of this game among the majority of people (Averbakh, 2012).


This game reached the territory of the Western Europe as well as Russia in the beginning of the ninth century. According to the assumptions of the researchers, in the 10th century, this intellectual game gained popularity in these areas (Averbakh, 2012). However, it is important to note that the earliest references to chess on the territory of Europe are scarce and ambiguous. After 1100, chess successfully became the typical feature of nobility, wealth, and welfare. Besides, during the Middle Ages as well as the Renaissance, this game was an integral element of a noble culture. In such a way, it get a nickname the “King’s Game” (Averbakh, 2012). Moreover, this intellectual engagement for the nobility was widely applied as the basis of numerous sermons and lectures on morality. The chess pieces that existed in many different variants served as metaphors for various classes and groups of people. Gradually, in due course, encountering various cultures and civilizations in far corners of the globe, this game was open to numerous modifications (Dangauthier, et al., 2008). As a result, chess has managed to become a so-called cultural domain that was and is used for upbringing, intellectual education, and development of the future generations (Agaval, 2011).

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Modern Development

At the end of the nineteenth century, numerous chess organizations, clubs, and tournaments started to develop in various corners of the globe. Furthermore, the first modern chess match was conducted on the territory of England in 1851. In addition, contemporary chess is considered to be a well-organized kind of sport that includes international as well as national leagues and tournaments. It is rather important to stress the fact that the governing body that is recognized on the international level is called FIDE (2015).

Besides, the majority of countries have numerous chess clubs, congresses, as well as organizations on the national level. The most well-known chess competitions in the world are as follows: European Individual Chess Championship as well as National Chess Championship (2015). In general, the majority of chess competitions are divided into two types: competitions for individual players and regular team events. Finally, it is important to note that there are numerous prestigious tournaments, festivals, and matches for players of different levels and ranks, including the beginners (Kitsis, 2010).


In conclusion, having determined and analyzed the historical timeline as well as modern development of chess, it is possible to summarize that chess should be primarily understood as a unique tool of intellectual and cognitive development of people. It has been estimated that this game primarily existed as a form of entertainment, hobby, or so-called “belonging” to the nobility. However, nowadays, this game is understood as a professional kind of sport that has gained considerable popularity and recognition among millions of people around the globe.


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