Origin And Use of Chess – Not Just A Game

ENTERTAINMENT | August 29, 2019

Playing Chess. Source: (theconversation.com)

Chess is a highly challenging game that is not just a game to play for fun but also used as a teaching tool for learning various types of math and programming techniques. Tournaments are even held in locally, nationally, and even worldwide venues where players compete against each other. Like any other competitive game or sport, these tournaments are taken very seriously by those who enter them. For them, it is not just a game but a way of life!

Chaturanga. Source: (thehumornation.com)

How long has this game of chess been around? Forms of it originated in the 6th century in India during what was called the Gupta Empire. The Gupta Empire was an ancient empire that was founded by King Sri Gupta. This form of chess was called Chaturanga which was later introduced to first Persia and then Europe during the late medieval era. The name Chaturanga means “having four limbs or parts” and was played on a board called “ashtapada.” Rules were slightly different but basically the same. Chess pieces were named differently. For example, the bishop was actually an elephant; the rook was a chariot; the knight was a horse, and the pawn was a foot-soldier. This game was even used by kings to develop war strategies.  

New Orleans Chess, Checkers and Whist Club - Late 1800s. Source: (chess.com)

Chess became quite a competitive game between players sparking tournaments. Wealthy businessmen would visit chess clubs when they happened to be nearby on business. One of these chess clubs was located in New Orleans, Louisiana called the New Orleans Chess, Checkers, and Whist Club.

The first World Chess tournament took place in the late 1800s. During that time, there were many qualified players, but the first recognized player to be claimed as a world champion was Wilheim Steinitz in the year 1886. The opponent that he played against was Johannes Zukertort which ended with 10 wins for Steinitz, 5 wins for Zukertort, and 5 draws. 

Darpan, Algorithms. Source: (pinterest.com)

Modern chess has proven to be useful in many ways. It has even been used as a way of helping blind students achieve success. Just like Braille was created for the purpose of reading, chess boards have been specially designed for the blind to be able to feel the chess pieces and where to move them.

Darpan is one of three blind students from India portrayed in the documentary Algorithm that follows their success as they travel to world chess tournaments to compete in the blind division. Darpan won world championship awards/medals four times with the most recent in 2018, and he was the youngest player to win the National Blind Chess Championship in 2010 at just age 16. In 2013, he was the first one from India to ever win any medal in blind chess and won a bronze medal.  

Chess. Source: (wikipedia.org)

Professional chess player, Magnus Carlsen holds the title of World Chess Champion as of 2018. He first achieved the status of chess grand-master at the age of 13 years old in 2004. With numerous championship awards under his belt, he is the third-youngest grandmaster in history. Born in Norway, Carlsen was a gifted child early on. His talent showed through beginning from the age of two when he was able to put a 50 piece puzzle together. Although he was introduced to chess at age five, he did not take an interest in it until age seven. By age nine, he won his first chess tournament, the Norwegian Chess Championship.

Modern Chess has become a game of strategy that has taken on a whole new world of its own. There are many that still play chess as a simple game for fun, but most chess players today play with a competitive spirit to be the best at it – chess grandmaster!   

Tags: chess

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