The history of Chess dates back multiple centuries with the first record of a Chess game being played between an historian and a pupil in the 10th century. With that length of time under its belt, you better believe there are some interesting facts about Chess. Here’s 50 interesting Chess facts you might not know.
1. There are over 319 billion possible combinations.
Did you know that the total number of ways to play the first four moves for both players in a chess game is 318,979,564,000? Most of the combinations are so many possibilities that it’s impossible to draw any conclusions from any one of them. The same applies to the first four moves in a chess game. There are over 300 million possible combinations, and we can’t determine which combination will lead to victory until we analyze the situation.
2. The chess board has a theoretical limit of 5,949 moves.
Theoretically, a game of chess with a maximum length of 5,949 moves is conceivable. The theoretical limit of the number of moves in a chess game is not static. Theoretically, there can never be more than 5,949 moves in a match even if both players agree to extend the time limit.
3. The longest chess game ever played was I.Nikolic vs. Arsovic, Belgrade 1989, which lasted 269 moves and ended in a draw.
The game lasted for 20 hours and 15 minutes, an incredible feat done by players that are ranked at the professional level. A chess game is a series of moves that two players make. A player alternates, making a move with the other player. This can happen in any order or at any time during the game. There are different ways to win, but if you get your king captured, you lose.
4. The Spanish innovation of allowing pawns to advance two squares on their first move instead of one was introduced in 1280.
The new pawn move, where pawns were allowed to advance two squares on their first move instead of one, was first introduced in Spain in 1280. The rule allowed for more aggressive play from the opening moves and broader possibilities for pawn promotion. When a white or black pawn reaches its promotion square, they may trade it for a queen. When a player moves a pawn to a square that they cannot retreat from, the pawn can be captured and removed from the board.
5. According to the US Chess Federation, there are an estimated 169 Octillion ways to play the first ten chess game moves.
People who studied mathematics might know that there are many ways to configure chess pieces for the first ten moves. After that, the game becomes completely randomized, and no one will predict what will happen next.
6. The first-ever outer space chess game was held on June 9, 1970, between space and Earth. The game ended in a draw.
The Soviet Union held the Soyez-9 crew’s first chess game on June 9, 1970. The game took place between space and Earth, with both sides having an equal number of pieces. The game ended in a draw.
7. The last known victory of a human over a top-performing computer in a standard chess tournament was the Ponomariov vs. Fritz game on November 21, 2005.
As Alan Turing predicted, computers have become so powerful that they are beyond what humans can do quickly. Nowadays, the top-performing chess computers are so good that it would be impossible for a human to win even if they are allowed to think about their response.
8. The priest who was prohibited from playing chess created the folding chessboard.
The priest discovered a method to work around it by making a folding chessboard. When folded up and placed on a shelf, it merely appears to be two books.
9. In November 1988, a computer called DeepThought was the first to defeat an international grandmaster in Long Beach, California.
This defeat marked a watershed in the history of computer chess and machine intelligence in general. But the computer wasn’t just remembering long lists of opening moves – it predicted possible outcomes based on the statistics. Deep Thought’s chess-playing program would play thousands of games against itself and learn which strategies were more likely to be effective.
10. The name “Checkmate” comes from the Persian term “Shah Mat,” which means “the King is slain.”
Checkmate is a standard chess move. It is the only chess move that cannot be countered. The name “Checkmate” comes from the Persian term “Shah Mat,” which means “the King is dead or slain.” Checkmate usually results in a win for the player.
11. In 1973, the Cleveland Police conducted a Chess Tournament raid.
On the basis of allowing gambling (cash prizes to winners) and possession of gaming devices (the Chess sets), the Tournament director was arrested, and the Chess sets were confiscated.
12. A Knight’s tour has over 122 million possibilities.
A knight’s tour is a series of moves of a knight on a chessboard such that the knight visits in order. The sequence of moves of a knight on a chessboard such that the square is visited once by the knight.
13. For more than 26 years and 337 days, Dr. Emanuel Lasker from Germany held the World Chess Champion title longer than any other player ever.
Emanuel Lasker was a German chess player, mathematician, and philosopher who held from 1894 to 1921, presided over the longest unbroken reign as an officially recognized World Chess Champion.
14. In 1090, a Chessboard with alternating light and dark squares was introduced in Europe.
In 1090, a chessboard with alternating light and dark squares was introduced to Europe by a scholar. The Chess Board was square and had three lines of alternating light and dark squares across it.
15. During World War II, several of the world’s best chess players were code breakers.
The British team that cracked the Nazi Enigma code included Harry Golombek, Stuart Milner-Barry, and O’Donel Alexander.
16. There are eight distinct Mate options in two moves and 355 distinct Mate options in three movements from the start position.
The number of possible Mate moves is approximately doubled by adding an extra movement to the game.
17. Play Chess with Your Eyes Shut.
Blindfold Chess is a remarkable skill possessed by many strong players. It demands the ability to “see” the board clearly in one’s mind, which becomes increasingly difficult as games progress. Many grandmasters have astonished audiences by playing 50 simultaneous games.
18. Russia is often referred to as the “Chess Kingdom.”
The nation with the most grandmasters is Russia, which dominates the game and has more grandmasters than any other country! The country has over 250 grandmasters!
19. A Triumph for the Ages.
The first-ever to beat a Soviet player in an international chess tournament was Frank Marshall, an American, in 1924 in New York City. He was the Unites States champ for nearly 30 years.
20. The first-year chess players are known as “rookies.”
Moreover, we also refer it to recruits of the military, police, and sports teams. The term derives from the last pawns to move in a chess game known as “rooks.”
21. The tumbling chess clock is a mechanical clock with a distinctive name.
There was a seesaw beam with two equal clocks balanced on it. Thomas Wilson, an English inventor, developed the first mechanical clock to be used as a timer (rather than a sand glass) in 1883.
22. The Unintended Consequence.
Nicholas McLeod of Quebec, Canada, had the worst competitive chess record, losing 31 games in the double-round robin at New York in 1889! At the time, he was the only player to defeat Emanuel Lasker when he was at his peak.
23. Chess Master with Unparalleled Versatility.
Vishwanathan Anand is the only chess champion to have won the world championship in all three formats, including knockout, tournament, and match.
24. Chess was the Second Book in English.
A chess book was the second book published in English. It was translated and printed from French into English by William Caxton in 1474.
25. Fool’s Mate: In two moves, defeat your chess opponent.
The least quantity of movements to win a checkmate is two, and it’s known as Fool’s Mate Runs or Two-Move Checkmate. The objective of the game is to capture your opponent’s queen while avoiding their king. You must move your queen while moving only two other pieces in a single match to accomplish this.
26. In India, chess was initially known as the ‘Game of Kings.’
The game was a popular pastime of monarchs and lords in the 12th century, and the pieces are named after royal or distinguished arsitocrat posts, including knight, king, queen, and bishop.
27. The youngest ever chess champion, still regarded as the greatest chess player of all time!
At the age of 22, Garry Kasparov of the Soviet Union became the world’s youngest chess champion ever in 1985. He was only that young to become a champion at that time and even to this date.
28. In 1951, Alan Turing developed the world’s first computer chess program.
Because no computer was sophisticated enough to execute the test, Turing conducted it himself. Based on the outcomes, Turing manually calculated and then played each move. This involved a long time and much hard work for him.
29. The World Chess Federation, or Fédération Internationale des Échecs, is the formal name of FIDE, which alternatively means, International Chess Federation.
The World Chess Federation, or International Chess Federation (FIDE), is a Swiss-based worldwide body that unifies the world’s numerous chess federations and coordinated international chess matches.
30. Chess is a popular game that has been shown to improve memory function—often mentioned in psychology books as a highly effective way to advance one’s intelligence.
It also allows the player’s mind to work through a variety of complicated issues while solving them. It should come as no surprise that it is highly beneficial against Alzheimer’s disease. Clinically tested and shown to drastically improve kids’ grades and other mental and cognitive functions.
31. Blathy, Otto was credited with creating the most prolonged Chess Problem and solved it in 290 moves.
His development of the problem was inspired by the problems he solved in the Chess Master’s book. He had no idea that it would be such a long solution.
32. Chess enjoyed a resurgence during the Cold War.
“The Queen’s Gambit” story is set against the backdrop of a specific era, which serves as the inspiration for Soviet V.S. the U.S. in the blockbuster miniseries that sparked a chess craze.
33. Janos French, a Hungarian player, set the record in 1960 for playing 52 different opponents concurrently, blindfolded.
He played them all with the blind piece and won 31 of the games while rearranging opponents. This is a fantastic achievement considering that Janos was not allowed to see his moves in this game. He had to depend on his visualization.
34. The 1972 World Chess Championship, dubbed the “Match of the Century,” was held in Reykjavik between Boris Spassky and Robert “Bobby” Fischer.
It had Cold War implications, with Boris Spassky representing the Soviet Union and Bobby Fischer representing the United States. It was televised globally and watched by hundreds of millions of people.
35. In a match between Mason-Mackenzie in London in 1882, there were 72 consecutive Queen Moves.
The most extended way was the chess queen could move as far as it wanted on any of the squares along its first rank, as well as any square along with its first two ranks.
36. The 100 Moves is a chess match between M. Walker and Thorton that was played without capture.
This is a significant indicator that the match was not played with any capture moves, which are typical to use during chess. It would have taken 100 moves at the maximum level to avoid capture.
37. There are over one thousand chess distinct openings.
The game of chess allows players to master a variety of variations. Chess variants also include mixtures of openings and defenses that can be comprehended. A player of intermediate skill may learn a lot about chess openings by playing against strong opposition.
38. Castling used to be two moves long, with R-KB1 moving to a single move and K-KN1 on the following.
Castling is a move in the game of chess involving a player’s king and either of the player’s original two rooks. The right-hand rook moves to the square over which the king crossed, then the king moves to the square reached by the rook.
39. On the TV show Star Trek, Kirk, and Spock have engaged in three chess games. All three games were won by Kirk.
The first of these games was played on the Starship Enterprise in the episode of Star Trek entitled “Shore Leave,” which aired in 1967. The second of the three chess games is in the episode titled “Arena” and was televised in 1968. The last chess game between Kirk and Spock is in the episode called “I, Mudd,” which aired in 1966.
40. In 1972, Iceland established a 24-hour Police Guard around the chess match seats of Fischer and Spassky’s to keep out intruders in the chess game.
A thorough analysis was conducted on the chairs, including chemical and x-ray examinations. However, nothing unusual could be discovered during testing.
41. After one move each, there are 400 distinct possibilities in the game of chess.
According to Paul Hoffman’s book King’s Gambit: A Son, a Father, and the World’s Most Dangerous Game, he says that: Chess has an infinite number of possibilities in practice, albeit only a theoretically finite number of moves.
42. The tiniest handmade chess set is 8 mm x 8 mm or 0.32 in x 0.32 in size.
In recognition of the achievement, Ara Davidi Ghazaryan (USA) was named as a winner on August 22, 2020, in Los Angeles.
43. After three chess moves, there are over 9 million different possibilities.
Do you know how many possible moves there are in chess? It appears to be a relatively large number after so few moves on either side. There are indeed more conceivable chess moves than atoms in the whole universe. We learned about this when we published the guide on the Shannon Number that was invented by the Mathematician, Claude Shannon.
44. The biggest chess piece, a king piece, which is 6.09 m (20 ft.) tall, is the most significant tallest chess piece in existence.
On April 6, 2018, the World Chess Hall of Fame (USA) in St. Louis, Missouri, accomplished the piece and obtained the world record. The museum will be run by the World Chess Museum, Inc., DBA World Chess Hall of Fame (USA).
45. The most popular and biggest chess lesson has 1,459 participants.
On 20 September 2018, the Guinness World Records recognized a new record. It was set by two Muttenz chess clubs and two Muttenz schools in Muttenz, Switzerland.
46. Chess originated in Northern India during the Gupta Dynasty when its predecessors wrote it down.
The game of Chess is believed to have originated in India, where it was known as Chaturanga. The name translates as ‘the four categories’ because the pieces that would eventually develop into the modern pawn, knight, bishop, and rook were represented by the divisions.
47. Ivory chess pieces, which are believed to be the world’s oldest archeological chess pieces, were found in Uzbekistan.
It began in Central Asia and dates to around 760, with all of them possibly dating back further.
48. The oldest chess manual known to have existed was written in Arabic and originated around 840.
Kitab ash-shatranj (The Book of Chess) was written by al-Adli ar-Rumi (800–870), a famous Arab chess player.
49. An IBM supercomputer defeated and outsmarted Garry Kasparov in 1997.
The game was transformed by Deep Blue, which became the first computer to defeat a grandmaster at chess in 1997, ushering in an era of computer dominance. Not just any grandmaster, but the best in the world, Garry Kasparov. Kasparov also has a new Chess Masterclass.
50. The world’s most expensive chess set, which includes diamonds and emeralds, is worth more than $9.8 million.
This is the magnificent Jewel Royale Chess Set, commissioned by the Royale Jewel Company and created in Great Britain.
Do you know any amazing facts about Chess? Let us know and we’ll include it in this list.