Chess is a two-player strategy board game played on a chessboard, a checkered gameboard with 64 squares arranged in an 8×8 grid. The game is played by millions of people worldwide. Chess is believed to have originated in India sometime before the 7th century. The game was derived from the Indian game chaturanga, which is also the likely ancestor of the Eastern strategy games xiangqi, janggi, and shogi. Chess reached Europe by the 9th century, due to the Moorish conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. The pieces assumed their current powers in Spain in the late 15th century; the rules were standardized in the 19th century.
Play does not involve hidden information. Each player begins with 16 pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. Each of the six piece types moves differently, with the most powerful being the queen and the least powerful the pawn. The objective is to checkmate the opponent's king by placing it under an inescapable threat of capture. To this end, a player's pieces are used to attack and capture the opponent's pieces, while supporting each other. During the game, play typically involves making exchanges of one piece for an opponent's similar piece, but also finding and engineering opportunities to trade one piece for two, or to get a better position. In addition to checkmate, the game can be won by voluntary resignation, and there are also several ways a game can end in a draw.
The first generally recognized World Chess Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, claimed his title in 1886. Since 1948, the World Championship has been regulated by the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE), the game's international governing body. FIDE also awards life-time master titles to skilled players, the highest of which is grandmaster. Many national chess organizations have a title system of their own. FIDE also organizes the Women's World Championship, the World Junior Championship, the World Senior Championship, the Blitz and Rapid World Championships, and the Chess Olympiad, a popular competition among international teams. FIDE is a member of the International Olympic Committee, which can be considered as a recognition of chess as a sport. Several national sporting bodies (for example the Spanish Consejo Superior de Deportes) also recognize chess as a sport. Chess was included in the 2006 and 2010 Asian Games. There is also a Correspondence Chess World Championship and a World Computer Chess Championship. Online chess has opened amateur and professional competition to a wide and varied group of players.
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Did you know...
- ...that Jonathan Mestel, an applied mathematician, thrice the British national champion, the Fédération Internationale des Échecs world champion in the division of players aged fewer than 16 years, and a FIDE Grandmaster, won the 1997 World Chess Solving Championship and became the first player to be styled both an over-the-board and a problem solving Grandmaster?
- ...that, having moved from his native Germany to South Africa prior to the outbreak of World War Two, International Master Wolfgang Heidenfeld won the South African national championship eight times, first in 1939, and represented the nation at the 1958 Chess Olympiad contested in Munich, Germany, and subsequently moved to the Republic of Ireland, the national championship of which he claimed six times between 1958 and 1972 and which he represented at four Olympiads and one iteration of the European Team Championship?
- ...that Sun Tzu chess is a hybrid variant in which each player's back rank pieces are positioned randomly, with no forced player-player symmetry and no positional requirements (save that each player must have a white-squared and a black-squared bishop; in which a fog of war of imperfect information is imposed, such that a player may see only squares occupied by his own pieces or those squares to which any piece might move ?
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