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History of chess

(English Version of

chessDiferentes historys and origin of chess
Many countries claim to have invented chess in some incipient form. The most commonly held view is that chess originated in India, since the Arabic, Persian, Greek, Portuguese and Spanish words for chess are all derived from the Sanskrit game Chaturanga. In addition, in the past only India had all three animals, horse, camel and elephant, in its cavalry, which represent knight, bishop and rook in chess. The present version of chess played throughout the world ultimately derives from a version of Chaturanga that was played in India around the 6th century. It is believed that the Persians subsequently created a more recognizable version of the game called Shatranj.


chessChess eventually spread westward to Europe and eastward as far as Japan, spawning variants as it went. The game spread throughout the Islamic world after the Muslim conquest of Persia. When it entered the Islamic world, the names of its pieces largely retained their Persian forms but its name became shatranj, which continued in Spanish as ajedrez and in Greek as zatrikion, but in most of Europe it was replaced by versions of the Persian word shāh = "king". There is a theory that this name replacement happened because, before the game of chess came to Europe, merchants coming to Europe brought ornamental chess kings as curiosities and with them their name shāh, which Europeans mispronounced in various ways.

Chess eventually reached Russia via Mongolia, where it was played at the beginning of the 7th century. It was introduced into the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors in the 10th century, and described in a famous 13th century manuscript covering chess, backgammon, and dice named the Libro de los juegos. The entrance of chess into Europe is marked by an enhancement of the powers of the queen.

Origins of chess terms

  • Checkmate: This is the English rendition of shāh māt, which is Persian for "the king is finished".
  • Rook: From Sanskrit Rath which means "chariot", or Persian rukh which means "chariot" or "cheek" (part of the face). The piece resembles a siege tower. It is also believed to be named after the mythical Persian bird of great power called the roc. In India, the piece is more popularly called haathi, which means "elephant".
  • Bishop: From the Persian pīl ("the elephant"), but in Europe and the western part of the Islamic world people knew little or nothing about elephants (curiously, in Russia this piece is called slon, which is Russian for "elephant"). The name of the chessman entered Western Europe as Latin alfinus, a meaningless word that then evolved further (in Spanish, for example, it evolved to the name "alfil"); alfil is actually Arabic for "the elephant", where al means "the" and fil means "elephant". The Spanish word would most certainly have been taken from the Islamic provinces of Spain. The English name "bishop" is inspired by the conventional shape of the piece originally intended as the tusk of an elephant but which also looks like the mitre of a bishop.
  • Queen: Persian farzīn ("vizier") became Arabic firzān, which entered western European languages in such forms as alfferza and fers, but was later replaced by "queen". "Fers" (Ферзь) persists as a commonly-used alternate name for the piece in Russia.
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