There is no one in this world that have not played chess at one time or the other. The oldest skill game in the world is said to be chess, but it is not only a skill game but something more than that. Through chess we come to know about the lives of the people of the medieval times. By looking carefully at the chess board and studying how the pieces are placed and the way they are used we realize that chess is the small form by which the medieval life can be explained. The cross section of the medieval life with all its ceremonies, wars and splendor are all represented through the six different chess pieces in the board.
The ancestors of chess is said to have its origin in India during the Gupta period in the 6th century. At that time chess was known as “chaturanga” which meant the four divisions of the military namely the infantry, cavalry, elephantry and chariotary. So we can say that they were great chess players of that time. They are now represented in the modern chess board with the names like pawn, knight, bishop and rook respectively. In some part of Persia around 600 chess became “chantrang” and the chess rules also got more developed. The players said “Shah” when they attacked the opponents’ king and “Shah Maat “when the king after being attacked could not escape. These exclamations were still used in chess as they moved from one country to the other.
Many centuries ago Chess was played in India, China and Persia, so they can be said to be old chess players of the world. The origin of chess is yet to be known. During the 8th century the moors who were the armies of the Arabs invaded Persia, thus the Persians are the people who taught chess to the Arabs. When the Moors invaded Spain they had taken the chess along with them thus the Spanish people also got introduced to this game after which it quickly spread to different parts of Europe.
In order to reflect the way the Europeans lived they modernized the words that were used while playing chess and gave them the names that we know today as they could not pronounce nor spell the names given by the Persians. In the present day if seen the names do not seem modern but about thousands of years ago they represented the way in which high ranking officials as well as ordinary people lived their lives.
The laborers or serfs were represented in the chess board as pawns. It is seen that their number is much more than the other pieces in the chess board and they are made to sacrifice their lives for the more important pieces. The laborers or serfs were thought of as a property which belonged to the landowners or treated as personal property during the medieval period. Life was very hard for the serfs during this period of history. They died young as they were not protected during the war .If the landowner was in any problem they could be sacrificed or traded in place of the owner.
The rooks in the chess board are called castles and each side has two castles. The castle pieces in the chess board are considered to be the home or the refuge.
There are two knights on each side on the chess board. The knights were the trained soldiers of the medieval times whose duty was to protect the high ranking officials and the chess board knight also has the same duty. Though knight in a chess game are of more importance than the pawns, they are less important than the kings, queens and bishop. The more important pieces are protected by the knight in the game of chess and they too can be sacrificed to save the important piece when in danger .
The church is represented in the game of chess through the bishop. The church was regarded as the mighty and rich force during the medieval times and religion played an important role in everybody’s life. The name for the priest of the Catholic Church who had risen to a high and powerful position through ranks was known as the bishop. There are two bishops in the chess game on each side.
The queen is the most powerful piece of the chess game and the only piece on the board that represents women. The chess board has only one queen for each side. Many people are still not aware that during the medieval times the queen held an unstable yet powerful position, The king often took her advice in many things and many times the queen is said to have played games against the king just to make her position secure in the court. With the permission of the church the king could imprison the queen in nunneries or set her aside . The approval of the queen was required.
The tallest piece on the chess board is the king and he is defined from all sides as he was during the medieval period. During the medieval times if the king surrendered to the opposing army it meant giving up his kingdom to the other king and that was like getting into a situation that was worse . The king is the most important piece in the chess board and it’s for the welfare of everyone from the serf who holds the lowest rank to the high ranking official to protect the king from any sort of harm.
The history of the Western chess is about 1500 years old. During the 6th century AD the earliest form of the chess game originated in India from where it spread it Persia. The Chess was adapted by the Muslim world from which it moved to Southern Europe after the Arabs conquered Persia. In the 15th century the game evolved into its current form in Europe. The modern tournament plays began in the 2nd half of the 19th century and in 1886 the first world chess tournament was held where top chess players took part. The World Chess Federation was established in the 20th century and along with it chess also jumped way ahead.
The Chess is a recognized sport of International Olympic Committee today. The first World Chess champion was Wilhehn Sleinitz who got his title in 1886 and the present day World Chess Champion is Vishwanathan Anand. His rank is the first among the top five players The today we play today is strongly influenced by the ability of the chess program and the chance to be played online. In the year 1997 Deep Blue was the first computer to defeat the World Champion of that time, Garry Kasparov in a match. The 21st century has seen the computer being used for chess players’ ratings, to check the analysis, online gaming like grand masters, to check chess players’ ratings and team consultations.