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Part of a Staunton chess set
Left to right: white king, black rook, black queen, white pawn, black knight, white bishop

Chess is a board game between two players. It is sometimes called international chess or Western chess to distinguish it from related games, such as xiangqi (Chinese chess) and shogi (Japanese chess). The recorded history of chess goes back at least to the emergence of a similar game, chaturanga, in seventh-century India. The rules of chess as we know them today emerged in Europe at the end of the 15th century, with standardization and universal acceptance by the end of the 19th century. Today, chess is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide.

Chess is an abstract strategy game and involves no hidden information. It is played on a chessboard with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. At the start, each player controls sixteen pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two bishops, two knights, and eight pawns. The player controlling the white pieces moves first, followed by the player controlling the black pieces. The object of the game is to checkmate the opponent's king, whereby the king is under immediate attack (in "check") and there is no way for it to escape. There are also several ways a game can end in a draw.

Organized chess arose in the 19th century. Chess competition today is governed internationally by FIDE (the International Chess Federation). The first universally recognized World Chess Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, claimed his title in 1886; Magnus Carlsen is the current World Champion. A huge body of chess theory has developed since the game's inception. Aspects of art are found in chess composition, and chess in its turn influenced Western culture and art, and has connections with other fields such as mathematics, computer science, and psychology. (Full article...)

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Vera Menchik 1927 newspaper photo (cropped).png
Menchik in 1927

Vera Francevna Mencikova (Russian: Вера Францевна Менчик, Vera Frantsevna Menchik; Czech: Věra Menčíková; 16 February 1906 – 26 June 1944), was a Russian-born Czechoslovak chess player who primarily resided in England. She was the first Women's World Chess Champion from 1927 to 1944 and the longest-reigning women's champion in history. Her eight world championship wins are the most of all time, and only Emanuel Lasker had a longer reign as world champion.

Menchik was born in Moscow to a Czech father and English mother. She played her first chess tournament in school at age 14 after having to switch to an integrated school during the Russian Revolution. Because of the revolution, her family left Russia and Menchik moved to Hastings, England in 1921. She joined the Hastings Chess Club in 1923 and began training with James Drewitt, the club champion, and Géza Maróczy, a past contender for the World Championship. Menchik established herself as the best female player in the country by defeating the British women's champion Edith Charlotte Price in two matches in 1925 two years before winning the inaugural Women's World Chess Championship in 1927. A year later, she became the first woman to compete in master-level tournaments. After her first big success at Ramsgate in 1929 when she shared second place with Akiba Rubinstein, Menchik was regularly invited to these elite events for the next decade, including the local Hastings Congress. Her best result in the Hastings Premier tournament was in 1931/32 when she defeated future world champion Max Euwe and Mir Sultan Khan to finish in joint fifth place out of ten. When Menchik was already a five-time Women's World Champion, she played and won the first-ever Women's World Championship match in 1937 against Sonja Graf, the consensus second-best female player of her era. One of her last big achievements was winning a match against Jacques Mieses in 1942 late in their careers. Menchik was active up until her death in 1944, when she was killed in a German air raid that destroyed her home with a flying bomb during the Second World War. (Full article...)
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FIDE world ranking

Rank Rank change* Player Rating Rating change*
1 Steady Norway Magnus Carlsen 2852 Steady
2 Steady Russia Ian Nepomniachtchi 2795 Steady
3 Steady China Ding Liren 2788 Steady
4 Steady France Alireza Firouzja 2785 Steady
5 Steady Netherlands Anish Giri 2768 Steady
Steady United States Hikaru Nakamura 2768 Steady
7 Steady United States Fabiano Caruana 2766 Steady
8 Steady United States Wesley So 2761 Steady
9 Steady India Viswanathan Anand 2754 Steady
10 Steady Azerbaijan Teimour Radjabov 2747 Steady
11 Steady United States Levon Aronian 2745 Steady
Steady Romania Richard Rapport 2745 Steady
Steady Russia Alexander Grischuk 2745 Steady
14 Steady United States Leinier Dominguez 2743 Steady
15 Steady Azerbaijan Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2738 Steady
16 Steady France Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2736 Steady
17 Steady Uzbekistan Nodirbek Abdusattorov 2731 Steady
18 Steady India Gukesh D 2730 Steady
Steady India Vidit Santosh Gujrathi 2730 Steady
20 Steady Russia Dmitry Andreikin 2729 Steady
Steady China Yu Yangyi 2729 Steady
*Change from the previous month

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Chess from A to Z

Index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z (0–9)
Glossary: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z



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