Timeline of chess

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a timeline of chess. See also the timeline of women in chess.

Early history[edit]

  • 6th century – The game chaturanga probably evolved into its current form around this time in India.[1]
  • 569 – A Chinese emperor wrote a book of xiangqi, Xiang Jing, in AD 569.
  • c. 600 – The Karnamuk-i-Artakhshatr-i-Papakan contains references to the Persian game of shatranj, the direct ancestor of modern Chess. Shatranj was initially called "Chatrang" in Persian (named after the Indian version), which was later renamed to shatranj.
  • c. 720 – Chess spreads across the Islamic world from Persia.
  • c. 840 – Earliest surviving chess problems by Caliph Billah of Baghdad.
  • c. 900 – Entry on Chess in the Chinese work Huan Kwai Lu ('Book of Marvels').
  • 997 – Versus de scachis is the earliest known work mentioning chess in Christian Western Europe.[2]
  • 1008 – Mention of chess in the will of Count Uregel, another early reference.
  • 10th century – As-Suli writes Kitab Ash-Shatranj, the earliest known work to take a scientific approach to chess strategy.
  • late 10th century – Dark and light squares are introduced on a chessboard.
  • 1173 – Earliest recorded use of a form of algebraic chess notation.
  • 1283 – Alfonso X compiles the Libro de los juegos, with an extensive collection of chess problems.
  • late 13th century – Pawns can now move two ranks on first move.
  • late 14th century – The en passant rule is introduced.
  • 1422 – A manuscript from Kraków sets the rule that stalemate is a draw.
  • 1471 – The Göttingen manuscript is the first book to deal solely with chess.
  • 1474 – William Caxton publishes The Game and Playe of Chesse, the first chess book in English.
  • 1475–1525 – Castling and the modern moves for the queen and bishop are slowly adopted.
  • 1475 – Scachs d'amor the first published game of modern chess, written as a poem.
  • 1493 – Hartmann Schedel publishes the Nuremberg Chronicle. It mentions the invention of chess by the philosopher Xerxes in Babylon during the rule of Evil-Merodach, the son of Nebuchadrezzar and illustrates the citation with a woodcut of Xerxes.
  • 1497 – Luis Ramirez Lucena publishes the earliest surviving work on the modern European game.

16th century[edit]

  • 1510 – Marco Girolamo Vida wrote Scacchia ludus (The Game of Chess) with the first reference to a goddess of chess.[3]
  • 1512 – Pedro Damiano publishes one of the first chess treatises, Questo libro e da imparare giocare a scachi et de li partiti. One of the oldest surviving manuscripts to detail chess strategy, Damiano's work gives the earliest known refutation of an unsound chess opening. This opening, the Damiano Defense is named in his honor. The Damiano Variation of the Petrov Defense will also later be named for Damiano's work, appearing in a game in which Damiano (playing white) takes advantage of poor play by Black to fork his King and Queen.
  • 1561 – Inspired by Damiano's previous written work, Spaniard chess player Ruy López writes his book Libro de la invencion liberal y arte del juego del axedrez, in which he coins the word gambit to describe opening sacrifices.
  • 1575 – The first known championship between Chess Masters is held in Madrid, between Italian masters Giovanni Leonardo and Paolo Boi along with Spanish masters Ruy López and Alfonso Ceron. Leonardo wins, with Boi placing second, López third, and Ceron fourth.

17th century[edit]

  • 1620-24 – Gioachino Greco writes a number of manuscripts on Chess strategy, giving the first known descriptions of Fool's Mate and Smothered Mate, as well as detailing a number of opening traps. His overall strategy promotes aggressive play. Most of Greco's games feature the King's Gambit Accepted or Giuoco Piano, and his work is greatly influential in popularizing both of these openings throughout the rest of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.
  • 1634 – Alessandro Salvio publishes Il Puttino, a book describing Italian Chess masters of the previous century.
  • 1690 – Openings are now systematically classified in the book Traitté du Jeu Royal des échets, published in 1675 in Lausanne, France by the printer David Gentil (author unknown). This book is known by the nickname Traite de Lausanne.[4]

18th century[edit]

  • 1737 –  Philipp Stamma (Syria) publishes Essai sur le jeu des échecs. The book features an early form of algebraic notation (for example, '1. e4 e5' in modern notation would be written as 'p e 4 | p e 5' in Stamma's). The first half primarily concerns opening theory, with particular emphasis on various opening gambits, and the second half gives the first detailed exploration of endgame theory.
  • 1744 –  François-André Danican Philidor (France) plays two opponents blindfolded in Paris.
  • 1745 – Philipp Stamma's work is translated from French to English, and published as 'The Noble Game of Chess'.
  • 1747 – Phillidor decisively defeats Stamma in 8/9 games while visiting London, instantly gaining international fame.
  • 1763 – Sir William Jones invents Caïssa, the chess muse.
  • 1769 – Baron Wolfgang von Kempelen builds the Mechanical Turk, a fake chess-playing humanoid "machine" in fact operated secretly by a human.
  • 1783 – Philidor plays as many as three games simultaneously without seeing the board.

19th century[edit]

20th century[edit]

  • 1902 – First radio chess match by players on two American ships.
  • 1904 – British Chess Federation (BCF) is established.
  • 1905 – British national championship for women starts.
  • 1907 – Lasker – Marshall World Championship match in several US cities.
  • 1910 –  José Raúl Capablanca (Cuba) is the first to win a major tournament (in New York) with a 100% score.
  • 1911 – The first simultaneous exhibition with more than 100 participants is held.
  • 1913 – Publication of H. J. R. Murray's book A History of Chess.
  • 1913 – The grasshopper is the first fairy piece invented, having its origin in the Renaissance "leaping queen".
  • 1919 – Capablanca gives a simultaneous in the House of Commons against 39 players.
  • 1921 – The first British correspondence chess championship is held.
  • 1921 – Capablanca defeats Lasker in Havana +4 −0 =10 to become the third official world champion. However, Lasker had resigned the title to Capablanca in 1920 and the match participants had agreed that Capablanca was the defending champion in the match.
  • 1924 – Establishment of Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE), the international chess federation.
  • 1924 – Staunton set officially adopted by FIDE.
  • 1927 – The first official Chess Olympiad is held in London.
  • 1927 –  Alexander Alekhine (Soviet Union) defeats Capablanca at Buenos Aires with +6 −3 =25 to become the fourth official world champion.
  • 1935 –  Max Euwe (Netherlands) wins the world championship title from Alekhine in Zandvoort, the Netherlands +9 −8 =13 and becomes the fifth official world champion.
  • 1937 – A record for simultaneous blindfold play against 34 opponents.
  • 1937 – Alekhine regains his champion title from Euwe in The Netherlands +10 −4 =11.
  • 1941Basic Chess Endings by Reuben Fine published.
  • 1945 – USA vs USSR radio match is the first international sporting event after World War II. The USSR scores an overwhelming victory.
  • 1946 – Reigning world champion Alekhine dies in Portugal, leaving the title vacant. FIDE moves to gain control of the world championship.
  • 1947 – The first postage stamp with a chess motif was printed by Bulgaria.
  • 1948 –  Mikhail Botvinnik (Soviet Union) wins the 1948 World Chess Championship tournament, which was held jointly at the Hague (in the Netherlands) and Moscow. He becomes the sixth official world champion.
  • 1949 – Claude Shannon speculates on how computers might play chess.
  • 1950 – FIDE introduces the International Grandmaster (GM) and International Master (IM) lifetime titles to indicate chess achievement.
  • 1950 – The first Candidates Tournament is held in Budapest. David Bronstein wins after a playoff against Isaac Boleslavsky.
  • 1951 – Botvinnik retains his title after the World Championship match with challenger Bronstein ends in a 12–12 tie.
  • 1951 – The first World Junior Chess Championship held.
  • 1952 – The Soviet Union begins its string of Chess Olympiad victories.
  • 1953 –  Vasily Smyslov (Soviet Union) wins the Candidates Tournament at Zurich.
  • 1954 – Botvinnik retains his title after the World Championship match with challenger Smyslov ends in a 12–12 tie.
  • 1956 – Smyslov wins the Candidates Tournament in Amsterdam.  Paul Keres (Soviet Union) finishes second.
  • 1957 – Smyslov defeats Botvinnik by the score 12½–9½ and becomes the seventh official world champion.
  • 1958 – Botvinnik defeats Smyslov in a rematch by the score 12½–10½ to regain the title.
  • 1958 –  Bobby Fischer (USA) qualifies for the 1959 Candidates Match, becoming the youngest ever Grandmaster. This record would stand until 1991.
  • 1959 –  Mikhail Tal (Soviet Union) wins the Candidates Tournament in Yugoslavia. Keres finishes second.
  • 1960 – Tal defeats Botvinnik +6 −2 =13 to become the eighth official world champion and the then youngest-ever world champion.
  • 1961 – Botvinnik defeats Tal in a rematch by the score +10 −5 =6 to regain the title.
  • 1962 Tigran Petrosian (Soviet Union) wins the Candidates Tournament in Curaçao, going through the tournament without a defeat. Keres finishes second in a Candidates Tournament for the third consecutive time.
  • 1963 – Petrosian defeats Botvinnik 12½–9½ to become the ninth World Chess Champion.
  • 1965 –  Boris Spassky (Soviet Union) wins Candidates Matches against Keres, Efim Geller, and Tal.
  • 1966 – Petrosian successfully defends his World Championship title against Spassky, 12½–11½.
  • 1967 –  Bent Larsen (Denmark) wins the Sousse Interzonal after Fischer withdraws after ten games while leading with 8½ points. Larsen also wins the first Chess Oscar.
  • 1969 – Spassky defeats Petrosian 12½–11½ to become the tenth World Chess Champion.
  • 1970 – Fischer wins the Palma de Mallorca Interzonal 3½ points ahead of his nearest rival.
  • 1971 – Fischer blazes through his Candidates Matches, defeating Mark Taimanov and Larsen each 6–0, and Petrosian by 6½–2½. Fischer establishes a 20-game winning streak in 1970 and 1971.
  • 1972 – Fischer beats Spassky in the World Chess Championship 1972 12½–8½. Due to its status as Cold War sporting confrontation, the match receives worldwide publicity.
  • 1975 Anatoly Karpov (Soviet Union) becomes the twelfth World Champion without having defeated the reigning champion as Fischer forfeits his crown.
  • 1977 – Female player  Nona Gaprindashvili (Soviet Union) wins the men's tournament at Lone Pine.
  • 1978 – Gaprindashvili becomes the first woman to receive the FIDE Grandmaster title.
  • 1978 – FIDE Master (FM) introduced as a title below International Master.
  • 1978 – First Sargon (chess) chess-playing software for personal computers introduced at the 1978 West Coast Computer Faire.
  • 1981 – Karpov convincingly defeats challenger Viktor Korchnoi six wins to two to retain the World Championship.
  • 1984 – In a controversial decision, the FIDE president abandons the World Championship match between defending champion Karpov and challenger  Garry Kasparov (Soviet Union) after 48 games, with Karpov leading 5–3.
  • 1985 – Kasparov defeats Karpov to become the thirteenth World Chess Champion 13–11.
  • 1986 – The musical Chess opens in London's West End.
  • 1991 Judit Polgár (Hungary) becomes the youngest ever Grandmaster, breaking Bobby Fischer's record by about a month.
  • 1992 – Fischer beats Spassky in a match in FR Yugoslavia in a rematch of the 1972 World Championship.
  • 1993Searching for Bobby Fischer motion picture released (in the United Kingdom as "Innocent Moves").
– Kasparov and  Nigel Short (England) break from FIDE to play their world championship match, forming the Professional Chess Association (PCA).
  • 1996Deep Blue beats Kasparov in the first game won by a chess-playing computer against a reigning world champion under normal chess tournament conditions. Kasparov recovers to win the match 4–2 (three wins, one loss, two draws).
  • 1997 – Kasparov loses a rematch to chess supercomputer Deep Blue (2½–3½), becoming the first World Champion to lose a match to a computer.
  • 1999Kasparov plays and wins against "the World" whose moves were determined by plurality of votes via the Internet.
  • 2000 – Kasparov loses his title to  Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) (8½–6½). Kramnik becomes the PCA World Chess Champion.

21st century[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Henry Davidson, A Short History of Chess, p. 6
  2. ^ Helena M. Gamer: "The Earliest Evidence of Chess in Western Literature: The Einsiedeln Verses", Speculum, Vol. 29, No. 4 (1954), pp. 734–50
  3. ^ Brief notes on the history of chess 1500 Archived 2008-05-02 at the Wayback Machine chess-poster.com
  4. ^ Wall, Bill. "Earliest Chess Manuscripts and Books". BILL WALL'S CHESS PAGE. Retrieved 25 February 2021.


  • Davidson, Henry (1949), A Short History of Chess, McKay, ISBN 0-679-14550-8, (1981 paperback)