Chess History


     The history of chess can be traced back nearly 1500 years, although the earliest origins are uncertain. 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.

     "Romantic Chess" was the predominant chess playing style from the late 15th century to the 1880's. Chess games of this period emphasized more on quick, tactical maneuvers rather than long-term strategic 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 1970's with the first programmed chess games on the market. Online gaming appeared in the mid-1990's.

     A lot of people play chess today. Indeed, a study by AGON, the FIDE World Championship partner has revealed some startling facts: world-wide there are approximately the same number of chess players as regular Facebook members, and in the U.S., more people play chess than tennis and golf, combined!