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History of Chess

The history of chess spans over 1500 years. The earliest predecessor of the game probably originated in India, before the 6th century AD; a minority of historians believe the game originated in China. From India, the game spread to Persia. When the Arabs conquered Persia, chess was taken up by the Muslim world and subsequently spread to Southern Europe. In Europe, chess evolved into roughly its current form in the 15th century. The "Romantic Era of Chess" was the predominant chess playing style down to the 1880s. It was characterized by swashbuckling attacks, clever combinations, brash piece sacrifices and dynamic games. Winning was secondary to winning with style. These games were focused more on artistic expression, rather than technical mastery or long-term planning. The Romantic era of play was followed by the Scientific, Hypermodern, and New Dynamism eras.
In the second half of the 19th century, modern chess tournament play began, and the first World Chess Championship was held in 1886. The 20th century saw great leaps forward in chess theory and the establishment of the World Chess Federation (FIDE). Developments in the 21st century include use of computers for analysis, which originated in the 1970s with the first programmed chess games on the market. Online gaming appeared in the mid-1990s.

Many countries claim to have invented the chess game in some incipient form. The most commonly held belief is that chess originated in India, where it was called Chaturanga, which appears to have been invented in the 6th century AD. Although this is commonly believed, it is thought that Persians created a more modern version of the game after the Indians. In fact, the oldest known chess pieces have been found in excavations of ancient Persian territories.

Chess eventually spread westward to Europe and eastward as far as Japan, spawning variants as it went. One theory suggests that it migrated from India to Persia, where its terminology was translated into Persian, and its name changed to chatrang. The entrance of chess into Europe, notably, is marked by a massive improvement in the powers of the queen. The oldest known texts describing chess seem to indicate a bi-directional spread from the Persian empire. In fact, the oldest known reference points to Shah Ardashir as being a master of the game, his rule was from 224 - 241 AD. This would indicate that chess was invented some time before his rule.

Chess is a game of imagination and strategy, one that provides rules, order and opportunities for intellectual growth. Chess teaches a skill that can be applied to other aspects of life. For example, it teaches one to plan carefully in advance to visualize various situations before making a move, and the importance of patience. How many of us have acted without thinking and then wished we could take back our actions? Well, the game of chess will quickly teach a child to analyze before acting. There have been studies which support the claim that chess improves a person’s organizational and analytically skills.”

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