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The history of chess – who invented and how chess came about

One of the most ancient and fascinating games is chess. It is known anywhere in the world, so there are dozens of variations in the world. This is not just a game, because chess has long been a sport and art. Chess markup is used in almost all areas of life, and the game algorithm is used for scientific purposes. But where is her homeland and who invented it? There is still no unambiguous and plausible opinion. Scientists argue, pushing their versions.

Controversial version
Some publications state with certainty that chess appeared in India somewhere in the 6th century AD. e. This was already at the beginning of the 20th century that could be read in Harold Murray’s book “The History of Chess”. Yes, they invented the game there at that time, but they came up with it much earlier. Scientists seriously took up the study of this topic and found a lot of different versions that sometimes surprise with facts.

If we consider India as the progenitor of chess, it is worth recalling the famous legend of the Raj and Brahmin. After numerous campaigns, victories and defeats, the lord was tired and sad. Raja ordered his advisers and sages to come up with fun for him, for which he took 3 days and nights. No one could satisfy him and interest, except for the humble peasant who brought a board with cells and wooden figures. When the rajah learned the conditions of the game, his joy knew no bounds.

That was what they had been trying to find for so long. In exchange, the peasant demanded a modest reward – a few grains of wheat. But he set the condition: the quantity should increase with each cell of the board (1 cell – 1 seed, 2 cells – 2, 3 cells – 22, 4 cells – 23, …, 64 cells – 264). Raja first ridiculed the stupid brahmin, but only then did he realize his mistake. There is no such amount of grain on the whole planet, because after calculations the final amount is equal to 1.8 * 1019. This chessboard was the battlefield of modern chess, which is translated from Persian as “the death of the king”.


There is another option – the Korean legend. Some 4,500 years ago, the prototype of modern chess was the game invented by the formidable king of Mesopotamia, Ravan, for his beloved wife Mandodari. He had to be absent for a long time due to numerous trips, so his wife was often sad. Chess is so interested in all the inhabitants of the palace that they spread around the world (India, China, Korea).

Curiously, there is real documentary evidence of this. At the beginning of the 20th century, von Bork proved the prototype of the game. According to him, she appeared in 1250 BC. e. in Hindustan. It was played by representatives of a local tribe, borrowing ancient fun in Elam (the present south-west of Iran).

Now it’s impossible to establish this precisely, because at that time people could combine different games under the word chess: dice, backgammon, chaupara or pachisi. All of these options have one thing in common – a square or cross-shaped board. We can only guess which of them was the first.

Ancient board games
So, at that time there were 2 options for boards: with a square or a cross. Sizes also vary. In Asia, the following are known:

5 by 5;
7 on 7;
9 to 9.
The rules of the game are somewhat different from the well-established modern ones, because then you could play not only together, but also in four. In some cases, the game started from the middle of the field, in others it was necessary to move from the edge (from the fortress). The movement could be spiral or in the form of a special maze. The set consisted of a field (matter on which squares are drawn) and 4 shells (seeds or sticks). But the poor and ordinary passers-by were satisfied with a piece of land on which squares were drawn with a stick.

Ashtapada is an ancient game on a single-color board with 64 cells. She is associated with a spider, which had 8 legs, because in the translation “Ashtapada” – 8 squares. The first mention of it appeared in the V century BC. e. in northern India. The progenitor of modern chess kept only the ruler, but the rules and movements were lost. So far, no scientist has been able to solve this mystery and provide the most believable version of the game.

If you compare the Indian prototype of the game with the Chinese, you can see the significant simplicity of the first option. It has fewer figures, they are voluminous, and not flat like those of the Chinese or Koreans, and also have a smaller range of moves. If the Chinese borrowed chess from the Indians, they had to work hard to complicate the rules of the game, modify the figures.

But there are several important discrepancies: official relations between these countries were recorded only in 150 BC. e., and during archaeological excavations in India, nothing was found, while in China constantly find different prototypes of this fun. There is one more discrepancy – there are no rules of the game or manuscripts about chess in Sanskrit, but there are a lot of them in Chinese.

Famous Chaturanga
This is the closest option that looks like modern chess. It began to play all in the same northern part of India, but somewhere in the VI century.

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