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Chess is a
board game Board games are tabletop games that typically use . These pieces are moved or placed on a pre-marked board (playing surface) and often include elements of Tabletop game, table, Card game, card, Role-playing game, role-playing, and miniatures ga ...
between two players. It is sometimes called international chess or Western chess to distinguish it from related games, such as
xiangqi ''Xiangqi'' (; ), also called Chinese chess or elephant chess, is a Abstract strategy game, strategy board game for two players. It is the most popular board game in China. ''Xiangqi'' is in the same family of games as ''shogi'', ''janggi'', ...
(Chinese chess) and
shogi , also known as Japanese chess, is a strategy board game Board games are tabletop games that typically use . These pieces are moved or placed on a pre-marked board (playing surface) and often include elements of Tabletop game, table, Card g ...
(Japanese chess). The current form of the game emerged in Spain and the rest of
Southern Europe Southern Europe is the southern regions of Europe, region of Europe. It is also known as Mediterranean Europe, as its geography is essentially marked by the Mediterranean Sea. Definitions of Southern Europe include some or all of these countrie ...
during the second half of the 15th century after evolving from
chaturanga Chaturanga ( sa, चतुरङ्ग; ') is an ancient Indian Abstract strategy game, strategy game. While there is some uncertainty, the prevailing view among chess historians is that it is the common ancestor of the board games chess (Europ ...
, a similar but much older game of Indian origin. Today, chess is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide. Chess is an
abstract strategy game Abstract strategy games admit a number of definitions which distinguish these from strategy games in general, mostly involving no or minimal theme (narrative), narrative theme, outcomes determined only by player choice (with no randomness), and pe ...
and involves no hidden information. It is played on a
chessboard A chessboard is a used to play chess. It consists of 64 squares, 8 rows by 8 columns, on which the chess pieces are placed. It is square in shape and uses two colours of squares, one light and one dark, in a chequered pattern. During play, the bo ...
with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. At the start, each player controls sixteen pieces: one
king King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen regnant, queen, which title is also given to the queen consort, consort of a king. *In the context of prehistory, antiquity and contempora ...
, one queen, two rooks, two
bishops A bishop is an ordained clergy member who is entrusted with a position of Episcopal polity, authority and oversight in a religious institution. In Christianity, bishops are normally responsible for the governance of dioceses. The role or offic ...
, two
knights A knight is a person granted an honorary title of knighthood by a head of state (including the Pope) or representative for service to the monarch, the Christian denomination, church or the country, especially in a military capacity. Knighthood ...
, 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 Checkmate (often shortened to mate) is any game position in chess and other chess-like games in which a player's king (chess), king is in Check (chess), check (threatened with ) and there is no possible escape. Checkmating the opponent wins the ...
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 or World Chess Federation, commonly referred to by its French acronym FIDE ( Fédération Internationale des Échecs), is an international organization based in Switzerland that connects the various national c ...
(International Chess Federation). The first universally recognized
World Chess Champion The World Chess Championship is played to determine the world champion in chess. The current world champion is Magnus Carlsen of Norway, who has held the title since 2013. The first event recognized as a world championship was the World Chess ...
,
Wilhelm Steinitz William Steinitz (born Wilhelm Steinitz; May 14, 1836 – August 12, 1900) was an Austrian and, later, American chess Chess is a board game between two Player (game), players. It is sometimes called international chess or Western ches ...
, claimed his title in 1886;
Magnus Carlsen Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen (born 30 November 1990) is a Norwegian chess grandmaster who is the reigning five-time World Chess Champion. He is also a three-time World Rapid Chess Champion and five-time World Blitz Chess Champion. Carlsen has ...
is the current World Champion. A huge body of
chess theory The game of chess Chess is a board game between two Player (game), players. It is sometimes called international chess or Western chess to distinguish it from chess variant, related games, such as xiangqi (Chinese chess) and shogi (Japanes ...
has developed since the game's inception. Aspects of
art Art is a diverse range of human activity, and resulting product, that involves creative or imaginative talent expressive of technical proficiency, beauty, emotional power, or conceptual ideas. There is no generally agreed definition of wha ...
are found in chess composition, and chess in its turn influenced
Western culture image:Da Vinci Vitruve Luc Viatour.jpg, Leonardo da Vinci's ''Vitruvian Man''. Based on the correlations of ideal Body proportions, human proportions with geometry described by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius in Book III of his treatise '' ...
and art, and has connections with other fields such as
mathematics Mathematics is an area of knowledge that includes the topics of numbers, formulas and related structures, shapes and the spaces in which they are contained, and quantities and their changes. These topics are represented in modern mathematics ...
,
computer science Computer science is the study of computation, automation, and information. Computer science spans theoretical disciplines (such as algorithms, theory of computation, information theory, and automation) to Applied science, practical discipli ...
, and
psychology Psychology is the science, scientific study of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, including feelings and thoughts. It is an academic discipline of immens ...
. One of the goals of early
computer scientists Computer science is the study of computation Computation is any type of arithmetic or non-arithmetic calculation that follows a well-defined model (e.g., an algorithm). Mechanical or electronic devices (or, History of computing hardware ...
was to create a chess-playing machine. In 1997, Deep Blue became the first computer to beat the reigning World Champion in a match when it defeated
Garry Kasparov Garry Kimovich Kasparov (born 13 April 1963) is a Russian chess Grandmaster (chess), grandmaster, former World Chess Champion, writer, political activist and commentator. His peak Elo rating system, rating of 2851, achieved in 1999, was the hi ...
. Today's
chess engine In computer chess, a chess engine is a computer program A computer program is a sequence or set of instructions in a programming language for a computer to Execution (computing), execute. Computer programs are one component of software, which ...
s are significantly stronger than the best human players and have deeply influenced the development of chess theory.


Rules

The rules of chess are published by
FIDE The International Chess Federation or World Chess Federation, commonly referred to by its French acronym FIDE ( Fédération Internationale des Échecs), is an international organization based in Switzerland that connects the various national c ...
(Fédération Internationale des Échecs), chess's international governing body, in its ''Handbook''. Rules published by national governing bodies, or by unaffiliated chess organizations, commercial publishers, etc., may differ in some details. FIDE's rules were most recently revised in 2018.


Setup

Chess piece A chess piece, or chessman, is a game piece that is placed on a chessboard to play the game of chess. It can be either White and Black in chess, white or black, and it can be one of six types: King (chess), king, Queen (chess), queen, Rook (chess ...
s are divided into two different colored sets. While the sets may not be literally white and black (e.g. the light set may be a yellowish or off-white color, the dark set may be brown or red), they are always referred to as "white" and "black". The players of the sets are referred to as and , respectively. Each set consists of 16 pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two bishops, two knights, and eight pawns.
Chess set A chess set consists of a chessboard and White and Black in chess, white and black chess pieces for playing chess. There are sixteen pieces of each color: one King (chess), king, one Queen (chess), queen, two Rook (chess), rooks, two Bishop (chess ...
s come in a wide variety of styles; for competition, the Staunton pattern is preferred. The game is played on a square board of eight rows (called ) and eight columns (called ). By convention, the 64 squares alternate in color and are referred to as and squares; common colors for chessboards are white and brown, or white and dark green. The pieces are set out as shown in the
diagram A diagram is a symbolic Depiction, representation of information using Visualization (graphics), visualization techniques. Diagrams have been used since prehistoric times on Cave painting, walls of caves, but became more prevalent during the Age ...
and photo. Thus, on White's first rank, from left to right, the pieces are placed in the following order: rook, knight, bishop, queen, king, bishop, knight, rook. On the second rank is placed a row of eight pawns. Black's position mirrors White's, with an equivalent piece on the same file. The board is placed with a light square at the right-hand corner nearest to each player. The correct positions of the king and queen may be remembered by the phrase "queen on her own color" ─ i.e. the white queen begins on a light square and the black queen on a dark square. In competitive games, the piece colors are allocated to players by the organizers; in informal games, the colors are usually decided randomly, for example by a coin toss, or by one player concealing a white pawn in one hand and a black pawn in the other, and having the opponent choose.


Movement

White moves first, after which players alternate turns, moving one piece per turn, except for castling, when two pieces are moved. A piece is moved to either an unoccupied square or one occupied by an opponent's piece, which is captured and removed from play. With the sole exception of '' en passant'', all pieces capture by moving to the square that the opponent's piece occupies. Moving is compulsory; a player may not skip a turn, even when having to move is detrimental. Each piece has its own way of moving. In the diagrams, the dots mark the squares to which the piece can move if there are no intervening piece(s) of either color (except the knight, which leaps over any intervening pieces). All pieces except the pawn can capture an enemy piece if it is located on a square to which they would be able to move if the square was unoccupied. The squares on which pawns can capture enemy pieces are marked in the diagram with black crosses. * The
king King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen regnant, queen, which title is also given to the queen consort, consort of a king. *In the context of prehistory, antiquity and contempora ...
moves one square in any direction. There is also a special move called that involves moving the king and a rook. The king is the most valuable piece — attacks on the king must be immediately countered, and if this is impossible, immediate loss of the game ensues (see Check and checkmate below). * A rook can move any number of squares along a rank or file, but cannot leap over other pieces. Along with the king, a rook is involved during the king's castling move. * A
bishop A bishop is an ordained clergy member who is entrusted with a position of Episcopal polity, authority and oversight in a religious institution. In Christianity, bishops are normally responsible for the governance of dioceses. The role or offic ...
can move any number of squares diagonally, but cannot leap over other pieces. * A queen combines the power of a rook and bishop and can move any number of squares along a rank, file, or diagonal, but cannot leap over other pieces. * A
knight A knight is a person granted an honorary title of knighthood by a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 " he head of sta ...
moves to any of the closest squares that are not on the same rank, file, or diagonal. (Thus the move forms an "L"-shape: two squares vertically and one square horizontally, or two squares horizontally and one square vertically.) The knight is the only piece that can leap over other pieces. * A
pawn Pawn most often refers to: * Pawn (chess), the weakest and most numerous piece in the game * Pawnbroker or pawnshop, a business that provides loans by taking personal property as collateral Pawn may also refer to: Places * Pawn, Oregon, an his ...
can move forward to the unoccupied square immediately in front of it on the same file, or on its first move it can advance two squares along the same file, provided both squares are unoccupied (black dots in the diagram). A pawn can capture an opponent's piece on a square diagonally in front of it by moving to that square (black crosses). It can capture a piece while advancing along the same file. A pawn has two special moves: the '' en passant'' capture and
promotion Promotion may refer to: Marketing * Promotion (marketing), one of the four marketing mix elements, comprising any type of marketing communication used to inform or persuade target audiences of the relative merits of a product, service, brand or i ...
.


Check and checkmate

When a king is under immediate attack, it is said to be . A move in response to a check is legal only if it results in a position where the king is no longer in check. This can involve capturing the checking piece; interposing a piece between the checking piece and the king (which is possible only if the attacking piece is a queen, rook, or bishop and there is a square between it and the king); or moving the king to a square where it is not under attack. Castling is not a permissible response to a check. The object of the game is to
checkmate Checkmate (often shortened to mate) is any game position in chess and other chess-like games in which a player's king (chess), king is in Check (chess), check (threatened with ) and there is no possible escape. Checkmating the opponent wins the ...
the opponent; this occurs when the opponent's king is in check, and there is no legal way to get it out of check. It is never legal for a player to make a move that puts or leaves the player's own king in check. In casual games, it is common to announce "check" when putting the opponent's king in check, but this is not required by the rules of chess and is not usually done in tournaments.


Castling

Once per game, each king can make a move known as . Castling consists of moving the king two squares toward a rook of the same color on the same rank, and then placing the rook on the square that the king crossed. Castling is permissible if the following conditions are met: * Neither the king nor the rook has previously moved during the game. * There are no pieces between the king and the rook. * The king is not in check and does not pass through or land on any square attacked by an enemy piece. Castling is still permitted if the rook is under attack, or if the rook crosses an attacked square. For castling notation, see § Notation.


''En passant''

When a pawn makes a two-step advance from its starting position and there is an opponent's pawn on a square next to the destination square on an adjacent file, then the opponent's pawn can capture it ''en passant'' ("in passing"), moving to the square the pawn passed over. This can be done only on the turn immediately following the enemy pawn's two-square advance; otherwise, the right to do so is forfeited. For example, in the animated diagram, the black pawn advances two squares from g7 to g5, and the white pawn on f5 can take it ''en passant'' on g6 (but only immediately after the black pawn's advance).


Promotion

When a pawn advances to its eighth
rank Rank is the relative position, value, worth, complexity, power, importance, authority, level, etc. of a person or object within a ranking, such as: Level or position in a hierarchical organization * Academic rank * Diplomatic rank * Hierarchy * H ...
, as part of the move, it is and must be exchanged for the player's choice of queen, rook, bishop, or knight of the same color. Usually, the pawn is chosen to be promoted to a queen, but in some cases, another piece is chosen; this is called underpromotion. In the animated diagram, the pawn on c7 can be advanced to the eighth rank and be promoted. There is no restriction on the piece promoted to, so it is possible to have more pieces of the same type than at the start of the game (e.g., two or more queens). If the required piece is not available (e.g. a second queen) an inverted rook is sometimes used as a substitute, but this is not recognized in FIDE-sanctioned games.


End of the game


Win

A game can be won in the following ways: * The king is in check and the player has no legal move. (See check and checkmate above.) * A player may resign, conceding the game to the opponent. Most tournament players consider it good etiquette to resign in a hopeless position. * In games with a
time control A time control is a mechanism in the tournament play of almost all two-player board games so that each round of the match can finish in a timely way and the tournament can proceed. Time controls are typically enforced by means of a game cloc ...
, a player wins if the opponent runs out of time, even if the opponent has a superior position, as long as the player has a theoretical possibility to checkmate the opponent were the game to continue. * A player who cheats, violates the rules, or violates the rules of conduct specified for the particular tournament can be forfeited. Occasionally, both players are forfeited.


Draw

There are several ways a game can end in a draw: * If the player to move has no legal move, but is not in check, the position is a stalemate, and the game is drawn. * If neither player is able to checkmate the other by any legal sequence of moves, the game is drawn. For example, if only the kings are on the board, all other pieces having been captured, checkmate is impossible, and the game is drawn by this rule. On the other hand, if both players still have a knight, there is a highly unlikely yet theoretical possibility of checkmate, so this rule does not apply. The dead position rule supersedes the previous rule which referred to "insufficient material", extending it to include other positions where checkmate is impossible, such as blocked pawn endings where the pawns cannot be attacked. * In tournament chess, draws are most commonly reached by mutual agreement between the players. The correct procedure is to verbally offer the draw, make a move, then start the opponent's clock. Traditionally, players have been allowed to agree to a draw at any point in the game, occasionally even without playing a move; in recent years efforts have been made to discourage short draws, for example by forbidding draw offers before move thirty. * This most commonly occurs when neither side is able to avoid repeating moves without incurring a disadvantage. In this situation, either player can claim a draw; this requires the players to keep a valid written record of the game so that the claim can be verified by the arbiter if challenged. The three occurrences of the position need not occur on consecutive moves for a claim to be valid. The addition of the fivefold repetition rule in 2014 requires the arbiter to intervene immediately and declare the game a draw after five occurrences of the same position, consecutive or otherwise, without requiring a claim by either player. FIDE rules make no mention of
perpetual check In the game of chess, perpetual check is a situation in which one player can a Draw (chess), draw by an unending series of check (chess), checks. This typically arises when the player who is checking cannot deliver checkmate, and failing to contin ...
; this is merely a specific type of draw by threefold repetition. * If during the previous 50 moves no pawn has been moved and no capture has been made, either player can claim a draw. The addition of the seventy-five-move rule in 2014 requires the arbiter to intervene and immediately declare the game drawn after 75 moves without a pawn move or capture, without requiring a claim by either player. There are several known endgames where it is possible to force a mate but it requires more than 50 moves before a pawn move or capture is made; examples include some endgames with two knights against a pawn and some pawnless endgames such as queen against two bishops. Historically, FIDE has sometimes revised the fifty-move rule to make exceptions for these endgames, but these have since been repealed. Some
correspondence chess Correspondence chess is chess Chess is a board game between two Player (game), players. It is sometimes called international chess or Western chess to distinguish it from chess variant, related games, such as xiangqi (Chinese chess) and sho ...
organizations do not enforce the fifty-move rule. * In games with a
time control A time control is a mechanism in the tournament play of almost all two-player board games so that each round of the match can finish in a timely way and the tournament can proceed. Time controls are typically enforced by means of a game cloc ...
, the game is drawn if a player is out of time and no sequence of legal moves would allow the opponent to checkmate the player.


Time control

In competition, chess games are played with a
time control A time control is a mechanism in the tournament play of almost all two-player board games so that each round of the match can finish in a timely way and the tournament can proceed. Time controls are typically enforced by means of a game cloc ...
. If a player's time runs out before the game is completed, the game is automatically lost (provided the opponent has to deliver checkmate). The duration of a game ranges from long (or "classical") games, which can take up to seven hours (even longer if adjournments are permitted), to
bullet chess Fast chess, also known as Speed chess, is a type of chess in which each player is given less time to consider their moves than Rules of chess#Timing, normal tournament time controls allow. Fast chess is subdivided, by decreasing time controls, i ...
(under 3 minutes per player for the entire game). Intermediate between these are rapid chess games, lasting between one and two hours per game, a popular time control in amateur weekend tournaments. Time is controlled using a
chess clock A chess clock consists of two adjacent clock A clock or a timepiece is a device used to Measurement, measure and indicate time. The clock is one of the oldest Invention, human inventions, meeting the need to measure intervals of time s ...
that has two displays, one for each player's remaining time. Analog chess clocks have been largely replaced by digital clocks, which allow for time controls with increments. Time controls are also enforced in correspondence chess competitions. A typical time control is 50 days for every 10 moves.


Notation

Historically, many different notation systems have been used to record chess moves; the standard system today is short-form algebraic notation. In this system, each square is uniquely identified by a set of coordinates, – for the files followed by – for the ranks. The usual format is: : – – The pieces are identified by their initials. In English, these are (king), (queen), (rook), (bishop), and (knight; N is used to avoid confusion with king). For example, Qg5 means "queen moves to the g-file, 5th rank" (that is, to the square g5). Different initials may be used for other languages. In chess literature, figurine algebraic notation (FAN) is frequently used to aid understanding independent of language. To resolve ambiguities, an additional letter or number is added to indicate the file or rank from which the piece moved (e.g. Ngf3 means "knight from the g-file moves to the square f3"; R1e2 means "rook on the first rank moves to e2"). For pawns, no letter initial is used; so e4 means "pawn moves to the square e4". If the piece makes a capture, "x" is usually inserted before the destination square. Thus Bxf3 means "bishop captures on f3". When a pawn makes a capture, the file from which the pawn departed is used to identify the pawn making the capture, for example, exd5 (pawn on the e-file captures the piece on d5). Ranks may be omitted if unambiguous, for example, exd (pawn on the e-file captures a piece somewhere on the d-file). A minority of publications use ":" to indicate a capture, and some omit the capture symbol altogether. In its most abbreviated form, exd5 may be rendered simply as ed. An ''en passant'' capture may optionally be marked with the notation "e.p." If a pawn moves to its last rank, achieving promotion, the piece chosen is indicated after the move (for example, e1=Q or e1Q). Castling is indicated by the special notations 0-0 (or O-O) for castling and 0-0-0 (or O-O-O) for castling. A move that places the opponent's king in check usually has the notation "+" added. There are no specific notations for discovered check or
double check In chess and other related games, a double check is a check (chess), check delivered by two pieces simultaneously. In chess notation, it is almost always represented the same way as a single check ("+"), but it is sometimes symbolized by "++" (h ...
. Checkmate can be indicated by "#". At the end of the game, "1–0" means White won, "0–1" means Black won, and "½–½" indicates a draw. Chess moves can be annotated with punctuation marks and other symbols. For example: "!" indicates a good move; "!!" an excellent move; "?" a mistake; "??" a blunder; "!?" an interesting move that may not be best; or "?!" a dubious move not easily refuted.Hooper & Whyld (1992), p. 92 For example, one variation of a simple trap known as the Scholar's mate (see animated diagram) can be recorded: :1. e4 e5 2. Qh5 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Qxf7 Variants of algebraic notation include long form algebraic, in which both the departure and destination square are indicated; abbreviated algebraic, in which capture signs, check signs, and ranks of pawn captures may be omitted; and Figurine Algebraic Notation, used in chess publications for universal readability regardless of language. Portable Game Notation (PGN) is a text-based file format for recording chess games, based on short form English algebraic notation with a small amount of markup. PGN files (suffix .pgn) can be processed by most chess software, as well as being easily readable by humans. Until about 1980, the majority of English language chess publications used descriptive notation, in which files are identified by the initial letter of the piece that occupies the first rank at the beginning of the game. In descriptive notation, the common opening move 1.e4 is rendered as "1.P-K4" ("pawn to king four"). Another system is
ICCF numeric notation ICCF numeric notation is the official chess notation system of the International Correspondence Chess Federation. The system was devised for use in international correspondence chess to avoid the potential confusion of using Algebraic notation (che ...
, recognized by the
International Correspondence Chess Federation International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF) was founded on 26 March 1951 as a new appearance of the International Correspondence Chess Association (ICCA), which was founded in 1945, as successor of the Internationaler Fernschachbund ( ...
though its use is in decline. In competitive games, players are normally required to keep a score (record of the game). For this purpose, only algebraic notation is recognized in FIDE-sanctioned events; game scores recorded in a different notation system may not be used as evidence in the event of a dispute.


Organized competition


Tournaments and matches

Contemporary chess is an organized sport with structured international and national leagues, tournaments, and
congress A congress is a formal meeting of the Representative democracy, representatives of different countries, constituent states, organizations, trade unions, political party, political parties, or other groups. The term originated in Late Middle Eng ...
es. Thousands of chess tournaments, matches, and festivals are held around the world every year catering to players of all levels. Tournaments with a small number of players may use the round-robin format, in which every player plays one game against every other player. For a large numbers of players, the Swiss system may be used, in which each player is paired against an opponent who has the same (or as similar as possible) score in each round. In either case, a player's score is usually calculated as 1 point for each game won and one-half point for each game drawn. Variations such as "football scoring" (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw) may be used by tournament organizers, but ratings are always calculated on the basis of standard scoring. There are different ways to denote a player's score in a match or tournament, most commonly: P/G (points scored out of games played, e.g. 5½/8); P–A (points for and points against, e.g. 5½–2½); or +W−L=D (W wins, L losses, D draws, e.g. +4−1=3). The term "" refers not to an individual game, but to either a series of games between two players, or a team competition in which each player of one team plays one game against a player of the other team.


Governance

Chess's international governing body is usually known by its French acronym
FIDE The International Chess Federation or World Chess Federation, commonly referred to by its French acronym FIDE ( Fédération Internationale des Échecs), is an international organization based in Switzerland that connects the various national c ...
(pronounced FEE-day) ( French: Fédération internationale des échecs), or International Chess Federation. FIDE's membership consists of the national chess organizations of over 180 countries; there are also several associate members, including various supra-national organizations, the International Braille Chess Association (IBCA), International Committee of Chess for the Deaf (ICCD), and the International Physically Disabled Chess Association (IPCA). FIDE is recognized as a
sports governing body A sports governing body is a sports organization that has a regulatory or sanctioning function. Sports governing bodies come in various forms and have a variety of regulatory functions. Examples of this can include disciplinary action for rule i ...
by the
International Olympic Committee The International Olympic Committee (IOC; french: link=no, Comité international olympique, ''CIO'') is a non-governmental Sports governing body, sports organisation based in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is constituted in the form of an associ ...
, but chess has never been part of the
Olympic Games The modern Olympic Games or Olympics (french: link=no, Jeux olympiques) are the leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a var ...
. FIDE's most visible activity is organizing the
World Chess Championship The World Chess Championship is played to determine the world champion in chess. The current world champion is Magnus Carlsen of Norway, who has held the title since 2013. The first event recognized as a world championship was the World Chess ...
, a role it assumed in 1948. The current World Champion is
Magnus Carlsen Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen (born 30 November 1990) is a Norwegian chess grandmaster who is the reigning five-time World Chess Champion. He is also a three-time World Rapid Chess Champion and five-time World Blitz Chess Champion. Carlsen has ...
of Norway. The reigning Women's World Champion is Ju Wenjun from China. Other competitions for individuals include the
World Junior Chess Championship The World Junior Chess Championship is an under-20 chess tournament (players must have been under 20 years old on 1 January in the year of competition) organized by the Fédération Internationale des Échecs, World Chess Federation (FIDE). The ...
, the European Individual Chess Championship, the tournaments for the World Championship qualification cycle, and the various national championships. Invitation-only tournaments regularly attract the world's strongest players. Examples include Spain's Linares event, Monte Carlo's Melody Amber tournament, the Dortmund Sparkassen meeting, Sofia's M-tel Masters, and Wijk aan Zee's
Tata Steel Tata Steel Limited is an Indian Multinational corporation, multinational steel-making company, based in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand and headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is a part of the Tata Group. Formerly known as Tata Iron and Steel Compa ...
tournament. Regular team chess events include the
Chess Olympiad The Chess Olympiad is a biennial chess tournament in which teams representing nations of the world compete. FIDE organises the tournament and selects the host nation. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, FIDE held an Online Chess Olympiad in FIDE Onli ...
and the
European Team Chess Championship The European Team Championship (often abbreviated in texts and games databases as ''ETC'') is an international team chess event, eligible for the participation of European nations whose chess federations are located in zones 1.1 to 1.9. This more ...
. The World Chess Solving Championship and World
Correspondence Chess Correspondence chess is chess Chess is a board game between two Player (game), players. It is sometimes called international chess or Western chess to distinguish it from chess variant, related games, such as xiangqi (Chinese chess) and sho ...
Championships include both team and individual events; these are held independently of FIDE.


Titles and rankings

In order to rank players, FIDE, ICCF, and most national chess organizations use the
Elo rating system The Elo rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in zero-sum games such as chess Chess is a board game between two Player (game), players. It is sometimes called international chess or Western chess to ...
developed by Arpad Elo. An average club player has a rating of about 1500; the highest FIDE rating of all time, 2882, was achieved by
Magnus Carlsen Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen (born 30 November 1990) is a Norwegian chess grandmaster who is the reigning five-time World Chess Champion. He is also a three-time World Rapid Chess Champion and five-time World Blitz Chess Champion. Carlsen has ...
on the March 2014 FIDE rating list. Players may be awarded lifetime titles by FIDE: * Grandmaster (GM; sometimes or IGM is used) is awarded to world-class chess masters. Apart from World Champion, Grandmaster is the highest title a chess player can attain. Before FIDE will confer the title on a player, the player must have an Elo rating of at least 2500 at one time and three results of a prescribed standard (called norms) in tournaments involving other grandmasters, including some from countries other than the applicant's. There are other milestones a player can achieve to attain the title, such as winning the World Junior Championship. *
International Master FIDE titles are awarded by the international chess Chess is a board game between two Player (game), players. It is sometimes called international chess or Western chess to distinguish it from chess variant, related games, such as xiangqi (Chi ...
(IM). The conditions are similar to GM, but less demanding. The minimum rating for the IM title is 2400. * FIDE Master (FM). The usual way for a player to qualify for the FIDE Master title is by achieving a FIDE rating of 2300 or more. *
Candidate Master FIDE titles are awarded by the international chess governing body FIDE (''Fédération Internationale des Échecs'') for outstanding performance. The highest such title is Grandmaster (chess), Grandmaster (GM). Titles generally require a combinatio ...
(CM). Similar to FM, but with a FIDE rating of at least 2200. The above titles are open to both men and women. There are also separate women-only titles; Woman Grandmaster (WGM), Woman International Master (WIM), Woman FIDE Master (WFM) and Woman Candidate Master (WCM). These require a performance level approximately 200 Elo rating points below the similarly named open titles, and their continued existence has sometimes been controversial. Beginning with Nona Gaprindashvili in 1978, a number of women have earned the open GM title.Current FIDE lists of top players with their titles are online at FIDE also awards titles for arbiters and trainers. International titles are also awarded to composers and solvers of chess problems and to correspondence chess players (by the
International Correspondence Chess Federation International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF) was founded on 26 March 1951 as a new appearance of the International Correspondence Chess Association (ICCA), which was founded in 1945, as successor of the Internationaler Fernschachbund ( ...
). National chess organizations may also award titles.


Theory

Chess has an extensive literature. In 1913, the chess historian H.J.R. Murray estimated the total number of books, magazines, and chess columns in newspapers to be about 5,000. B.H. Wood estimated the number, as of 1949, to be about 20,000. David Hooper and
Kenneth Whyld Kenneth Whyld (6 March 1926 – 11 July 2003) was a British chess author and researcher, best known as the co-author (with David Vincent Hooper, David Hooper) of ''The Oxford Companion to Chess'', a single-volume chess reference work in Engl ...
write that, "Since then there has been a steady increase year by year of the number of new chess publications. No one knows how many have been printed." Significant public chess libraries include the John G. White Chess and Checkers Collection at
Cleveland Public Library Cleveland Public Library, located in Cleveland, Ohio, operates the Main Library on Superior Avenue in downtown Cleveland Downtown Cleveland is the central business district of Cleveland, Ohio. The economic and symbolic center of the city and the ...
, with over 32,000 chess books and over 6,000 bound volumes of chess periodicals;
Susan Polgar Susan is a feminine given name, from Persian "Susan" (lily flower), from Egyptian ''c:Lotus flower (hieroglyph), sšn'' and Coptic ''shoshen'' meaning "lotus flower", from Hebrew ''Shoshana'' meaning "lily" (in modern Hebrew this also means "ros ...

Special Chess Records
(11 February 2008). Retrieved on 11 January 2009.
and the Chess & Draughts collection at the
National Library of the Netherlands The Royal Library of the Netherlands (Dutch (language), Dutch: Koninklijke Bibliotheek or KB; ''Royal Library'') is the national library of Netherlands, the Netherlands, based in The Hague, founded in 1798. The KB collects everything that is pub ...
, with about 30,000 books. Chess theory usually divides the game of chess into three phases with different sets of strategies: the opening, typically the first 10 to 20 moves, when players move their pieces to useful positions for the coming battle; the middlegame; and last the endgame, when most of the pieces are gone, kings typically take a more active part in the struggle, and pawn promotion is often decisive. is concerned with finding the best moves in the initial phase of the game. There are dozens of different openings, and hundreds of variants. ''
The Oxford Companion to Chess ''The Oxford Companion to Chess'' is a reference book on the game of chess written by David Vincent Hooper and Kenneth Whyld. The book is written in an encyclopedia format. The book belongs to the Oxford Companions series. Details The first ed ...
'' lists 1,327 named openings and variants. is usually divided into
chess tactics In chess, a tactic is a sequence of moves that each makes one or more immediate threats ─ that is, a Check (chess), check, a Glossary of chess#material, material threat, a Checkmate, checkmating sequence threat, or the threat of another tactic ...
and
chess strategy Chess strategy is the aspect of chess play concerned with evaluation of chess positions and setting of goals and long-term plans for future play. While evaluating a position strategically, a player must take into account such factors as the Chess ...
. Chess strategy concentrates on setting and achieving long-term positioning advantages during the game – for example, where to place different pieces – while tactics concerns immediate maneuver. These two aspects of the gameplay cannot be completely separated, because strategic goals are mostly achieved through tactics, while the tactical opportunities are based on the previous strategy of play. is concerned with positions where there are only a few pieces left. Theoretics categorize these positions according to the pieces, for example "King and pawn endings" or "Rook versus a minor piece".


Opening

A chess opening is the group of initial moves of a game (the "opening moves"). Recognized sequences of opening moves are referred to as and have been given names such as the
Ruy Lopez The Ruy Lopez (; ), also called the Spanish Opening or Spanish Game, is a chess opening characterised by the moves: :1. b:Chess Opening Theory/1. e4, e4 b:Chess Opening Theory/1. e4/1...e5, e5 :2. b:Chess Opening Theory/1. e4/1...e5/2. Nf3, N ...
or
Sicilian Defense The Sicilian Defence is a chess opening that begins with the following moves: :1. b:Chess Opening Theory/1. e4, e4 b:Chess Opening Theory/1. e4/1...c5, c5 The Sicilian is the most popular and best-scoring response to White's first move 1.e4. Ope ...
. They are catalogued in reference works such as the ''
Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings The ''Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings'' () is a reference work describing the state of Chess theory#Opening theory, opening theory in chess, originally published in five volumes from 1974 to 1979 by the Serbian company Šahovski Informator (Che ...
''. There are dozens of different openings, varying widely in character from quiet (for example, the
Réti Opening The Réti Opening is a hypermodern chess opening A chess opening or simply an opening is the initial stage of a chess game. It usually consists of established Chess_theory#Opening_theory, theory; the other phases are the chess middlegame, ...
) to very aggressive (the
Latvian Gambit The Latvian Gambit (or Greco Countergambit) is a chess opening A chess opening or simply an opening is the initial stage of a chess game. It usually consists of established Chess_theory#Opening_theory, theory; the other phases are the chess ...
). In some opening lines, the exact sequence considered best for both sides has been worked out to more than 30 moves. Professional players spend years studying openings and continue doing so throughout their careers, as opening theory continues to evolve. The fundamental strategic aims of most openings are similar: * This is the technique of placing the pieces (particularly bishops and knights) on useful squares where they will have an optimal impact on the game. * Control of the central squares allows pieces to be moved to any part of the board relatively easily, and can also have a cramping effect on the opponent. * It is critical to keep the king safe from dangerous possibilities. A correctly timed castling can often enhance this. * Players strive to avoid the creation of pawn weaknesses such as isolated, doubled, or backward pawns, and pawn islands – and to force such weaknesses in the opponent's position. Most players and theoreticians consider that White, by virtue of the first move, begins the game with a small advantage. This initially gives White the
initiative In political science, an initiative (also known as a popular initiative or citizens' initiative) is a means by which a petition signed by a certain number of Voter registration, registered voters can force a government to choose either to enac ...
. Black usually strives to neutralize White's advantage and achieve , or to develop in an unbalanced position.


Middlegame

The middlegame is the part of the game which starts after the opening. There is no clear line between the opening and the middlegame, but typically the middlegame will start when most pieces have been developed. (Similarly, there is no clear transition from the middlegame to the endgame; see start of the endgame.) Because the opening theory has ended, players have to form plans based on the features of the position, and at the same time take into account the tactical possibilities of the position. The middlegame is the phase in which most combinations occur. Combinations are a series of tactical moves executed to achieve some gain. Middlegame combinations are often connected with an attack against the opponent's king. Some typical patterns have their own names; for example, the Boden's Mate or the Lasker–Bauer combination. Specific plans or strategic themes will often arise from particular groups of openings which result in a specific type of pawn structure. An example is the , which is the attack of queenside pawns against an opponent who has more pawns on the queenside. The study of openings is therefore connected to the preparation of plans that are typical of the resulting middlegames. Another important strategic question in the middlegame is whether and how to reduce material and transition into an endgame (i.e. ). Minor material advantages can generally be transformed into victory only in an endgame, and therefore the stronger side must choose an appropriate way to achieve an ending. Not every reduction of material is good for this purpose; for example, if one side keeps a light-squared bishop and the opponent has a dark-squared one, the transformation into a bishops and pawns ending is usually advantageous for the weaker side only, because an endgame with bishops on opposite colors is likely to be a draw, even with an advantage of a pawn, or sometimes even with a two-pawn advantage.


Tactics

In chess, tactics in general concentrate on short-term actions – so short-term that they can be calculated in advance by a human player or a computer. The possible depth of calculation depends on the player's ability. In positions with many possibilities on both sides, a deep calculation is more difficult and may not be practical, while in positions with a limited number of variations, strong players can calculate long sequences of moves. Theoreticians describe many elementary tactical methods and typical maneuvers, for example: pins, forks,
skewers A skewer is a thin metal or wood stick used to hold pieces of food together. The word may sometimes be used as a metonym, to refer to the entire food item served on a skewer, as in "chicken skewers". Skewers are used while grilling or roasting ...
, batteries, discovered attacks (especially discovered checks), zwischenzugs, deflections, decoys, sacrifices, underminings, overloadings, and interferences. Simple one-move or two-move tactical actions – threats, exchanges of , and double attacks – can be combined into more complicated sequences of tactical maneuvers that are often forced from the point of view of one or both players.Harding (2003), pp. 70ff A forced variation that involves a sacrifice and usually results in a tangible gain is called a . Brilliant combinations – such as those in the Immortal Game – are considered beautiful and are admired by chess lovers. A common type of chess exercise, aimed at developing players' skills, is a position where a decisive combination is available and the challenge is to find it.


Strategy

Chess strategy is concerned with the evaluation of chess positions and with setting up goals and long-term plans for future play. During the evaluation, players must take into account numerous factors such as the value of the pieces on the board, control of the center and centralization, the
pawn structure In a game of chess, the pawn structure (sometimes known as the pawn skeleton) is the configuration of pawn (chess), pawns on the chessboard. Because pawns are the least mobile of the chess pieces, the pawn structure is relatively static and thus ...
, king safety, and the control of key squares or groups of squares (for example, diagonals, open files, and dark or light squares). The most basic step in evaluating a position is to count the total value of pieces of both sides. The point values used for this purpose are based on experience; usually, pawns are considered worth one point, knights and bishops about three points each, rooks about five points (the value difference between a rook and a bishop or knight being known as the exchange), and queens about nine points. The king is more valuable than all of the other pieces combined, since its checkmate loses the game. But in practical terms, in the endgame, the king as a fighting piece is generally more powerful than a bishop or knight but less powerful than a rook. These basic values are then modified by other factors like position of the piece (e.g. advanced pawns are usually more valuable than those on their initial squares), coordination between pieces (e.g. a pair of bishops usually coordinate better than a bishop and a knight), or the type of position (e.g. knights are generally better in with many pawns while bishops are more powerful in ). Another important factor in the evaluation of chess positions is (sometimes known as the ): the configuration of pawns on the chessboard. Since pawns are the least mobile of the pieces, pawn structure is relatively static and largely determines the strategic nature of the position. Weaknesses in pawn structure include isolated, doubled, or
backward pawn In chess, a backward pawn is a pawn (chess), pawn that is behind all pawns of the same color on the adjacent and cannot be safely advanced. In the diagram, the black pawn on the c6-square is backward. Disadvantages Backward pawns are usually ...
s and ; once created, they are often permanent. Care must therefore be taken to avoid these weaknesses unless they are compensated by another valuable asset (for example, by the possibility of developing an attack).


Endgame

The endgame (also or ) is the stage of the game when there are few pieces left on the board. There are three main strategic differences between earlier stages of the game and the endgame: # Pawns become more important. Endgames often revolve around endeavors to promote a pawn by advancing it to the furthest . # The king, which requires safeguarding from attack during the middlegame, emerges as a strong piece in the endgame. It is often brought to the where it can protect its own pawns, attack enemy pawns, and hinder moves of the opponent's king. #
Zugzwang Zugzwang (German for "compulsion to move", ) is a situation found in chess and other turn-based games wherein one player (game), player is put at a disadvantage because of their obligation to make a move; a player is said to be "in zugzwang" when ...
, a situation in which the player who is to move is forced to incur a disadvantage, is often a factor in endgames but rarely in other stages of the game. In the example diagram, either side having the move is in zugzwang: Black to move must play 1...Kb7 allowing White to promote the pawn after 2.Kd7; White to move must permit a draw, either by 1.Kc6
stalemate Stalemate is a situation in the game of chess where the player whose turn it is to move is not in check (chess), check and has no legal move. Stalemate results in a draw (chess), draw. During the chess endgame, endgame, stalemate is a resource ...
or by losing the pawn after any other legal move. Endgames can be classified according to the type of pieces remaining on the board. Basic checkmates are positions in which one side has only a king and the other side has one or two pieces and can checkmate the opposing king, with the pieces working together with their king. For example, king and pawn endgames involve only kings and pawns on one or both sides, and the task of the stronger side is to promote one of the pawns. Other more complicated endings are classified according to pieces on the board other than kings, such as " rook and pawn versus rook" endgames.


History


Predecessors

The earliest texts referring to the origins of chess date from the beginning of the 7th century. Three are written in ''Pahlavi'' (
Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg () in its later form, is a Western Iranian languages#Middle Iranian, Middle Iranian language which became the literary language of the Sasanian Empire. For some time after ...
) and one, the ''
Harshacharita The ''Harshacharita'' ( sa, हर्षचरित, ) (''The deeds of Harsha''), is the biography of Indian emperor Harsha by Banabhatta, also known as Bana, who was a Sanskrit language, Sanskrit writer of seventh-century CE India. He was the ...
'', is in
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had Trans-cul ...
. One of these texts, the ''Chatrang-namak'', represents one of the earliest written accounts of chess. The narrator Bozorgmehr explains that ''Chatrang'', the Pahlavi word for chess, was introduced to Persia by 'Dewasarm, a great ruler of India' during the reign of
Khosrow I Khosrow I (also spelled Khosrau, Khusro or Chosroes; pal, 𐭧𐭥𐭮𐭫𐭥𐭣𐭩; New Persian: []), traditionally known by his epithet of Anushirvan ( [] "the Immortal Soul"), was the Sasanian Empire, Sasanian King of Kings of Iran from ...
.Warner (2000), pp. 381 The oldest known chess manual was in Arabic and dates to about 840, written by al-Adli ar-Rumi (800–870), a renowned Arab chess player, titled ''Kitab ash-shatranj'' (The Book of Chess). This is a lost manuscript, but is referenced in later works. Here also, al-Adli attributes the origins of Persian chess to India, along with the eighth-century collection of fables Kalīla wa-Dimna.Trautmann (2015), pp. 117 By the twentieth century, a substantial consensusMark (1996), pp. 138Fine (2015), pp. 3 developed regarding chess's origins in northwest
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...
in the early 7th century.Murray (1913), pp. 26–27, 51–52 More recently, this consensus has been the subject of further scrutiny. The early forms of chess in India were known as (), literally "four divisions" f the militarynbsp;–
infantry Infantry is a military specialization which engages in ground combat on foot. Infantry generally consists of light infantry, mountain infantry, motorized infantry & mechanized infantry, airborne infantry, air assault infantry, and marine i ...
,
cavalry Historically, cavalry (from the French word ''cavalerie'', itself derived from "cheval" meaning "horse") are soldiers or warriors who fight mounted on horseback. Cavalry were the most mobile of the combat arms, operating as light cavalr ...
,
elephants Elephants are the Largest and heaviest animals, largest existing land animals. Three living species are currently recognised: the African bush elephant, the African forest elephant, and the Asian elephant. They are the only surviving members ...
, and
chariot A chariot is a type of cart driven by a charioteer, usually using horses to provide rapid motive power. The oldest known chariots have been found in burials of the Sintashta culture in modern-day Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia, dated to c. 2000  ...
ry – represented by pieces which would later evolve into the modern pawn, knight, bishop, and rook, respectively. Chaturanga was played on an 8×8 uncheckered board, called . Thence it spread eastward and westward along the
Silk Road The Silk Road () was a network of Eurasia Eurasia (, ) is the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. Primarily in the Northern Hemisphere, Northern and Eastern Hemispheres, it spans from the British Isles a ...
. The earliest evidence of chess is found in the nearby Sasanian Persia around 600 A.D., where the game came to be known by the name ( fa, چترنگ). Chatrang was taken up by the
Muslim world The terms Muslim world and Islamic world commonly refer to the Islamic community, which is also known as the Ummah. This consists of all those who adhere to the religious beliefs and laws of Islam or to societies in which Islam is practiced. In ...
after the
Islamic conquest of Persia The Muslim conquest of Persia, also known as the Arab conquest of Iran, was carried out by the Rashidun Caliphate The Rashidun Caliphate ( ar, اَلْخِلَافَةُ ٱلرَّاشِدَةُ, al-Khilāfah ar-Rāšidah) was the first ca ...
(633–51), where it was then named ( ar, شطرنج; fa, شترنج), with the pieces largely retaining their Persian names. In Spanish, "shatranj" was rendered as ''ajedrez'' ("al-shatranj"), in Portuguese as ''xadrez'', and in
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor ...
as ζατρίκιον (''zatrikion'', which comes directly from the Persian ''chatrang''), but in the rest of Europe it was replaced by versions of the Persian ''shāh'' ("king"), from which the English words "check" and "chess" descend. The word "
checkmate Checkmate (often shortened to mate) is any game position in chess and other chess-like games in which a player's king (chess), king is in Check (chess), check (threatened with ) and there is no possible escape. Checkmating the opponent wins the ...
" is derived from the Persian ''shāh māt'' ("the king is dead").
Xiangqi ''Xiangqi'' (; ), also called Chinese chess or elephant chess, is a Abstract strategy game, strategy board game for two players. It is the most popular board game in China. ''Xiangqi'' is in the same family of games as ''shogi'', ''janggi'', ...
is the form of chess best-known in China. The eastern migration of chess, into China and Southeast Asia, has even less documentation than its migration west, making it largely conjectured. The word was used in China to refer to a game from 569 A.D. at the latest, but it has not been proven if this game was or was not directly related to chess. The first reference to Chinese chess appears in a book entitled ''Xuán guaì lù'' ("Record of the Mysterious and Strange"), dating to about 800. A minority view holds that western chess arose from xiàngqí or one of its predecessors, although this has been contested. Chess historians Jean-Louis Cazaux and Rick Knowlton contend that xiangqi's intrinsic characteristics make it easier to construct an evolutionary path from China to India/Persia than the opposite direction. The oldest archaeological chess artifacts – ivory pieces – were excavated in ancient
Afrasiab Afrasiab ( fa, ''afrāsiyāb''; ae, Fraŋrasyan; Middle-Persian: ''Frāsiyāv, Frāsiyāk'') is the name of the mythical king and hero of Turan. He is the main antagonist of the Persian epic Shahnameh, written by Ferdowsi. The mythical king ...
, today's
Samarkand fa, سمرقند , native_name_lang = , settlement_type = City , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from the top:Registan square, Shah-i-Zinda necropolis, Bibi-Khanym Mosque, view inside Shah-i-Zinda, ...
, in
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan (, ; uz, Ozbekiston, italic=yes / , ; russian: Узбекистан), officially the Republic of Uzbekistan ( uz, Ozbekiston Respublikasi, italic=yes / ; russian: Республика Узбекистан), is a Doubly landlocked, do ...
, Central Asia, and date to about 760, with some of them possibly being older. Remarkably, almost all findings of the oldest pieces come from along the Silk Road, from the former regions of the Tarim Basin (today's Xinjiang in China),
Transoxiana Transoxiana or Transoxania (Land beyond the Oxus) is the Latin name for a region and Sogdia, civilization located in lower Central Asia roughly corresponding to modern-day eastern Uzbekistan, western Tajikistan, parts of southern Kazakhstan, par ...
,
Sogdiana Sogdia (Sogdian language, Sogdian: ) or Sogdiana was an ancient Iranian peoples, Iranian civilization between the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, and in present-day Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Sogdiana was also ...
,
Bactria Bactria (; Bactrian: , ), or Bactriana, was an ancient region in Central Asia Central Asia, also known as Middle Asia, is a region of Asia Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either conside ...
,
Gandhara Gandhāra is the name of an ancient region located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, more precisely in present-day north-west Pakistan Pakistan ( ur, ), officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan ( ur, , ...
, to Iran on one end and to India through
Kashmir Kashmir () is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the Kashmir Valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal Range. Today, the term encompass ...
on the other. The game reached Western Europe and Russia via at least three routes, the earliest being in the 9th century. By the year 1000, it had spread throughout both the Muslim Iberia and Latin Europe.Hooper & Whyld (1992), pp. 173–75 A Latin poem called '' Versus de scachis'' ("Verses on Chess") dated to the late 10th century, has been preserved at
Einsiedeln Abbey Einsiedeln Abbey (german: Kloster Einsiedeln) is a Benedictine Order, Benedictine Catholic monastery in the village of Einsiedeln, Switzerland, Einsiedeln in the canton of Schwyz, Switzerland. The abbey is dedicated to Our Lady of the Hermits, i ...
in Switzerland.


1200–1700: Origins of the modern game

The game of chess was then played and known in all European countries. A famous 13th-century Spanish manuscript covering chess,
backgammon Backgammon is a two-player board game Board games are tabletop games that typically use . These pieces are moved or placed on a pre-marked board (playing surface) and often include elements of Tabletop game, table, Card game, card, Role-pla ...
, and
dice Dice (singular die or dice) are small, throwable objects with marked sides that can rest in multiple positions. They are used for generating Statistical randomness, random values, commonly as part of tabletop games, including List of dice game ...
is known as the ''
Libro de los juegos The ''Libro de los juegos'' (Spanish: "Book of games"), or ''Libro de axedrez, dados e tablas'' ("Book of chess, dice and tables", in Old Spanish), was a Spanish Spanish might refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards are a nation ...
'', which is the earliest European treatise on chess as well as being the oldest document on European tables games. The rules were fundamentally similar to those of the Arabic
shatranj Shatranj ( ar, شطرنج; fa, شترنج; from Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg () in its later form, is a Western Iranian languages#Middle Iranian, Middle Iranian language which bec ...
. The differences were mostly in the use of a checkered board instead of a plain monochrome board used by Arabs and the habit of allowing some or all pawns to make an initial double step. In some regions, the Queen, which had replaced the
Vizier A vizier (; ar, وزير, wazīr; fa, وزیر, vazīr), or wazir, is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in the near east. The Abbasid caliphs gave the title ''wazir'' to a minister formerly called '' katib'' (secretary), who was ...
, and/or the King could also make an initial two-square leap under some conditions. Around 1200, the rules of shatranj started to be modified in
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = ''Plus ultra'' (Latin)(English: "Further Beyond") , national_anthem = (English: "Royal March") , i ...
and the rest of Southern Europe, culminating, several major changes later, in the emergence of modern chess practically as it is known today. A major change was the modern piece movement rules, which began to appear in intellectual circles in
Valencia Valencia ( va, València) is the capital of the Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Valencian Community, Valencia and the Municipalities of Spain, third-most populated municipality in Spain, with 791,413 inhabitants. It is ...
, Spain, around 1475, which established the foundations and brought it very close to current Chess. These new rules then were quickly adopted in Italy and Southern France before diffusing into the rest of Europe. Pawns gained the ability to advance two squares on their first move, while bishops and queens acquired their modern movement powers. The queen replaced the earlier
vizier A vizier (; ar, وزير, wazīr; fa, وزیر, vazīr), or wazir, is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in the near east. The Abbasid caliphs gave the title ''wazir'' to a minister formerly called '' katib'' (secretary), who was ...
chess piece toward the end of the 10th century and by the 15th century had become the most powerful piece; in light of that, modern chess was often referred to at the time as "Queen's Chess" or "Mad Queen Chess". Castling, derived from the "king's leap", usually in combination with a pawn or rook move to bring the king to safety, was introduced. These new rules quickly spread throughout Western Europe. Writings about
chess theory The game of chess Chess is a board game between two Player (game), players. It is sometimes called international chess or Western chess to distinguish it from chess variant, related games, such as xiangqi (Chinese chess) and shogi (Japanes ...
began to appear in the 15th century. The ''Repetición de Amores y Arte de Ajedrez'' (''Repetition of Love and the Art of Playing Chess'') by
Spanish Spanish might refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards are a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language, spoken in Spain and many Latin American countries **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Cana ...
churchman Luis Ramírez de Lucena was published in
Salamanca Salamanca () is a city in western Spain and is the capital of the Province of Salamanca in the Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Castile and León. The city lies on several rolling hills by the Tormes River. Its Old City wa ...
in 1497. Lucena and later masters like Portuguese Pedro Damiano, Italians Giovanni Leonardo Di Bona,
Giulio Cesare Polerio Giulio Cesare Polerio (c. 1550, – c. 1610; reconstruction of places and dates by Adriano Chicco) was an Italian chess Chess is a board game between two Player (game), players. It is sometimes called international chess or Western chess to ...
and Gioachino Greco, and Spanish bishop Ruy López de Segura developed elements of opening theory and started to analyze simple endgames.


1700–1873: Romantic era

In the 18th century, the center of European chess life moved from Southern Europe to mainland France. The two most important French masters were François-André Danican Philidor, a musician by profession, who discovered the importance of pawns for chess strategy, and later Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais, who won a famous series of matches against Irish master Alexander McDonnell in 1834. Centers of chess activity in this period were
coffee house A coffeehouse, coffee shop, or café is an establishment that primarily serves coffee of various types, notably espresso, latte, and cappuccino. Some coffeehouses may serve cold drinks, such as iced coffee and iced tea, as well as other non-caf ...
s in major European cities like '' Café de la Régence'' in Paris and '' Simpson's Divan'' in London. At the same time, the intellectual movement of
romanticism Romanticism (also known as the Romantic movement or Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate ...
had had a far-reaching impact on chess, with aesthetics and tactical beauty being held in higher regard than objective soundness and strategic planning. As a result, virtually all games began with the Open Game, and it was considered unsportsmanlike to decline gambits that invited tactical play such as the King's Gambit and the Evans Gambit. This chess philosophy is known as Romantic chess, and a sharp, tactical style consistent with the principles of chess romanticism was predominant until the late 19th century. The rules concerning stalemate were finalized in the early 19th century. Also in the 19th century, the convention that White moves first was established (formerly either White or Black could move first). Finally, the rules around castling and en passant captures were standardized – variations in these rules persisted in Italy until the late 19th century. The resulting standard game is sometimes referred to as or , particularly in Asia where other games of the chess family such as
xiangqi ''Xiangqi'' (; ), also called Chinese chess or elephant chess, is a Abstract strategy game, strategy board game for two players. It is the most popular board game in China. ''Xiangqi'' is in the same family of games as ''shogi'', ''janggi'', ...
are prevalent. Since the 19th century, the only rule changes, such as the establishment of the correct procedure for claiming a draw by repetition, have been technical in nature. As the 19th century progressed, chess organization developed quickly. Many chess clubs, chess books, and chess journals appeared. There were correspondence matches between cities; for example, the London Chess Club played against the
Edinburgh Edinburgh ( ; gd, Dùn Èideann ) is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 Council areas of Scotland, council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian (interchangeably Edinburghshire before 1921), it is located in Lothian ...
Chess Club in 1824. Chess problems became a regular part of 19th-century newspapers; Bernhard Horwitz, Josef Kling, and Samuel Loyd composed some of the most influential problems. In 1843, von der Lasa published his and Bilguer's '' Handbuch des Schachspiels'' (''Handbook of Chess''), the first comprehensive manual of chess theory. The first modern chess tournament was organized by
Howard Staunton Howard Staunton (April 1810 – 22 June 1874) was an English chess master A chess title is a title regulated by a chess governing body and bestowed upon players based on their performance and rank. Such titles are usually granted ...
, a leading English chess player, and was held in London in 1851. It was won by the German
Adolf Anderssen Karl Ernst Adolf Anderssen (July 6, 1818 – March 13, 1879)"Anderssen, Adolf" in '' The New Encyclopædia Britannica''. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 15th edn., 1992, Vol. 1, p. 385. was a German chess master. He won the great inter ...
, who was hailed as the leading chess master. His brilliant, energetic attacking style was typical for the time. Sparkling games like Anderssen's Immortal Game and Evergreen Game or Morphy's " Opera Game" were regarded as the highest possible summit of the art of chess. Deeper insight into the nature of chess came with the American
Paul Morphy Paul Charles Morphy (June 22, 1837 – July 10, 1884) was an American chess player. He is considered to have been the greatest chess master of his era and is often considered the unofficial World Chess Champion. A chess prodigy, he was ca ...
, an extraordinary
chess prodigy The term chess prodigy refers to a young child who possesses an aptitude for the game of chess that far exceeds what might be expected at their age. Their Child prodigy, prodigious talent will often enable them to defeat experienced adult players ...
. Morphy won against all important competitors (except Staunton, who refused to play), including Anderssen, during his short chess career between 1857 and 1863. Morphy's success stemmed from a combination of brilliant attacks and sound strategy; he intuitively knew how to prepare attacks.


1873–1945: Birth of a sport

Prague Prague ( ; cs, Praha ; german: Prag, ; la, Praga) is the capital and List of cities in the Czech Republic, largest city in the Czech Republic, and the historical capital of Bohemia. On the Vltava river, Prague is home to about 1.3 milli ...
-born
Wilhelm Steinitz William Steinitz (born Wilhelm Steinitz; May 14, 1836 – August 12, 1900) was an Austrian and, later, American chess Chess is a board game between two Player (game), players. It is sometimes called international chess or Western ches ...
laid the foundations for a scientific approach to the game, the art of breaking a position down into components and preparing correct plans. In addition to his theoretical achievements, Steinitz founded an important tradition: his triumph over the leading German master Johannes Zukertort in 1886 is regarded as the first official
World Chess Championship The World Chess Championship is played to determine the world champion in chess. The current world champion is Magnus Carlsen of Norway, who has held the title since 2013. The first event recognized as a world championship was the World Chess ...
. This win marked a stylistic transition at the highest levels of chess from an attacking, tactical style predominant in the Romantic era to a more positional, strategic style introduced to the chess world by Steinitz. Steinitz lost his crown in 1894 to a much younger player, the German mathematician
Emanuel Lasker Emanuel Lasker (; December 24, 1868 – January 11, 1941) was a German chess player, mathematician, and philosopher who was World Chess Champion for 27 years, from 1894 to 1921, the longest reign of any officially recognised World Chess Champi ...
, who maintained this title for 27 years, the longest tenure of any world champion. After the end of the 19th century, the number of master tournaments and matches held annually quickly grew. The first
Olympiad An olympiad ( el, Ὀλυμπιάς, ''Olympiás'') is a period of four years, particularly those associated with the ancient and modern Olympic Games. Although the ancient Olympics were established during Greece's Archaic Era, it was not unt ...
was held in Paris in 1924, and
FIDE The International Chess Federation or World Chess Federation, commonly referred to by its French acronym FIDE ( Fédération Internationale des Échecs), is an international organization based in Switzerland that connects the various national c ...
was founded initially for the purpose of organizing that event. In 1927, the
Women's World Chess Championship The Women's World Chess Championship (WWCC) is played to determine the world champion in women's chess. Like the World Chess Championship The World Chess Championship is played to determine the world champion in chess. The current world cha ...
was established; the first to hold the title was Czech-English master
Vera Menchik Vera Francevna Mencikova (russian: Вера Францевна Менчик, ''Vera Frantsevna Menchik''; cz, Věra Menčíková; 16 February 1906 – 26 June 1944), was a Russian-born Czechoslovak chess Chess is a board game betwee ...
. A prodigy from Cuba, José Raúl Capablanca, known for his skill in endgames, won the World Championship from Lasker in 1921. Capablanca was undefeated in tournament play for eight years, from 1916 to 1924. His successor (1927) was the Russian-French
Alexander Alekhine Alexander Aleksandrovich Alekhine, ''Aleksándr Aleksándrovich Alékhin''; (March 24, 1946) was a Russian and French chess player and the fourth World Chess Championship, World Chess Champion, a title he held for two reigns. By the age of ...
, a strong attacking player who died as the world champion in 1946. Alekhine briefly lost the title to Dutch player
Max Euwe Machgielis "Max" Euwe (; May 20, 1901 – November 26, 1981) was a Dutch chess player, mathematician, author, and chess administrator. He was the fifth player to become World Chess Championship, World Chess Champion, a title he held from 1935 ...
in 1935 and regained it two years later. In the
interwar period In the history of the 20th century, the interwar period lasted from 11 November 1918 to 1 September 1939 (20 years, 9 months, 21 days), the end of the First World War World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated a ...
, chess was revolutionized by the new theoretical school of so-called hypermodernists like
Aron Nimzowitsch Aron Nimzowitsch ( lv, Ārons Nimcovičs, russian: Аро́н Иса́евич Нимцо́вич, ''Aron Isayevich Nimtsovich''; 7 November 1886 – 16 March 1935) was a Latvian-born Danish chess player and writer. In the late 1920s, Nimz ...
and Richard Réti. They advocated controlling the of the board with distant pieces rather than with pawns, thus inviting opponents to occupy the center with pawns, which become objects of attack.


1945–1990: Post-World War II era

After the death of Alekhine, a new World Champion was sought. FIDE, which has controlled the title since then, ran a tournament of elite players. The winner of the 1948 tournament was Russian
Mikhail Botvinnik Mikhail Moiseyevich Botvinnik, ( – May 5, 1995) was a Soviet and Russian chess grandmaster. The sixth World Chess Champion The World Chess Championship is played to determine the world champion in chess. The current world champion ...
. In 1950 FIDE established a system of titles, conferring the titles of Grandmaster and International Master on 27 players. (Some sources state that in 1914 the title of chess Grandmaster was first formally conferred by Tsar
Nicholas II of Russia Nicholas II or Nikolai II Alexandrovich Romanov; spelled in Reforms of Russian orthography, pre-revolutionary script. ( 186817 July 1918), known in the Russian Orthodox Church as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer,. was the last Emperor of ...
to Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Tarrasch, and Marshall, but this is a disputed claim.) Botvinnik started an era of
Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former transcontinental countries#Since 1700, transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state, ...
dominance in the chess world, which mainly through the Soviet government's politically inspired efforts to demonstrate intellectual superiority over the West stood almost uninterrupted for more than a half-century. Until the
dissolution of the Soviet Union The dissolution of the Soviet Union, also negatively connoted as rus, Разва́л Сове́тского Сою́за, r=Razvál Sovétskogo Soyúza, ''Ruining of the Soviet Union''. was the process of internal disintegration within the Sov ...
, there was only one non-Soviet champion, American
Bobby Fischer Robert James Fischer (March 9, 1943January 17, 2008) was an American Grandmaster (chess), chess grandmaster and the eleventh World Chess Championship, World Chess Champion. A chess prodigy, he won his first of a record eight U.S. Chess Champ ...
(champion 1972–1975). Botvinnik also revolutionized opening theory. Previously, Black strove for equality, attempting to neutralize White's first-move advantage. As Black, Botvinnik strove for the initiative from the beginning. In the previous informal system of World Championships, the current champion decided which challenger he would play for the title and the challenger was forced to seek sponsors for the match. FIDE set up a new system of qualifying tournaments and matches. The world's strongest players were seeded into Interzonal tournaments, where they were joined by players who had qualified from Zonal tournaments. The leading finishers in these Interzonals would go through the " Candidates" stage, which was initially a tournament, and later a series of knockout matches. The winner of the Candidates would then play the reigning champion for the title. A champion defeated in a match had a right to play a rematch a year later. This system operated on a three-year cycle. Botvinnik participated in championship matches over a period of fifteen years. He won the world championship tournament in 1948 and retained the title in tied matches in 1951 and 1954. In 1957, he lost to
Vasily Smyslov Vasily Vasilyevich Smyslov ( rus, Васи́лий Васи́льевич Смысло́в, Vasíliy Vasíl'yevich Smyslóv; 24 March 1921 – 27 March 2010) was a Soviet and Russian chess grandmaster, who was World Chess Champion from 1957 to ...
, but regained the title in a rematch in 1958. In 1960, he lost the title to the 23-year-old Latvian prodigy
Mikhail Tal Mikhail Nekhemyevich Tal; rus, Михаил Нехемьевич Таль, ''Mikhail Nekhem'yevich Tal' '', ; sometimes transliterated ''Mihails Tals'' or ''Mihail Tal'' (9 November 1936 – 28 June 1992) was a Soviet-Latvian chess player ...
, an accomplished tactician and attacking player who is widely regarded as one of the most creative players ever, hence his nickname "the magician from Riga". Botvinnik again regained the title in a rematch in 1961. Following the 1961 event, FIDE abolished the automatic right of a deposed champion to a rematch, and the next champion, Armenian
Tigran Petrosian Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian (, ; 17 June 1929 – 13 August 1984) was a Soviet-Armenian chess grandmaster, and World Chess Champion The World Chess Championship is played to determine the world champion in chess. The current world ...
, a player renowned for his defensive and positional skills, held the title for two cycles, 1963–1969. His successor,
Boris Spassky Boris Vasilievich Spassky ( rus, Бори́с Васи́льевич Спа́сский, Borís Vasíl'yevich Spásskiy; born January 30, 1937) is a Russian chess grandmaster who was the tenth World Chess Champion, holding the title from 196 ...
from Russia (champion 1969–1972), won games in both positional and sharp tactical style. The next championship, the so-called Match of the Century, saw the first non-Soviet challenger since World War II, American
Bobby Fischer Robert James Fischer (March 9, 1943January 17, 2008) was an American Grandmaster (chess), chess grandmaster and the eleventh World Chess Championship, World Chess Champion. A chess prodigy, he won his first of a record eight U.S. Chess Champ ...
. Fischer defeated his opponents in the Candidates matches by unheard-of margins, and convincingly defeated Spassky for the world championship. The match was followed closely by news media of the day, leading to a surge in popularity for chess; it also held significant political importance at the height of the
Cold War The Cold War is a term commonly used to refer to a period of Geopolitics, geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc. The term ''Cold war (term), co ...
, with the match being seen by both sides as a microcosm of the conflict between East and West. In 1975, however, Fischer refused to defend his title against Soviet
Anatoly Karpov Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov ( rus, links=no, Анато́лий Евге́ньевич Ка́рпов, p=ɐnɐˈtolʲɪj jɪvˈɡʲenʲjɪvʲɪtɕ ˈkarpəf; born May 23, 1951) is a Russian and former Soviet Grandmaster (chess), chess grandmast ...
when he was unable to reach agreement on conditions with FIDE, and Karpov obtained the title by default. Fischer modernized many aspects of chess, especially by extensively preparing openings. Karpov defended his title twice against
Viktor Korchnoi Viktor Lvovich Korchnoi ( rus, Ви́ктор Льво́вич Корчно́й, p=vʲiktər lʲvovʲɪtɕ kɐrtɕˈnoj; 23 March 1931 – 6 June 2016) was a Soviet (before 1976) and Swiss (after 1980) chess grandmaster (GM) and chess writer. He ...
and dominated the 1970s and early 1980s with a string of tournament successes. In the 1984 World Chess Championship, Karpov faced his toughest challenge to date, the young
Garry Kasparov Garry Kimovich Kasparov (born 13 April 1963) is a Russian chess Grandmaster (chess), grandmaster, former World Chess Champion, writer, political activist and commentator. His peak Elo rating system, rating of 2851, achieved in 1999, was the hi ...
from
Baku Baku (, ; az, Bakı ) is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea The Caspian Sea is the world's largest inland body of water, often described as the List of lakes by area, world's largest ...
,
Soviet Azerbaijan Azerbaijan ( az, Азәрбајҹан, Azərbaycan, italics=no), officially the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic (Azerbaijan SSR; az, Азәрбајҹан Совет Сосиалист Республикасы, Azərbaycan Sovet Sosialist R ...
. The match was aborted in controversial circumstances after 5 months and 48 games with Karpov leading by 5 wins to 3, but evidently exhausted; many commentators believed Kasparov, who had won the last two games, would have won the match had it continued. Kasparov won the 1985 rematch. Kasparov and Karpov contested three further closely fought matches in 1986, 1987 and 1990, Kasparov winning them all. Kasparov became the dominant figure of world chess from the mid 1980s until his retirement from competition in 2005.


Beginnings of chess technology

Chess-playing computer programs (later known as chess engines) began to appear in the 1960s. In 1970, the first major computer chess tournament, the North American Computer Chess Championship, was held, followed in 1974 by the first
World Computer Chess Championship World Computer Chess Championship (WCCC) is an event held periodically since 1974 where computer chess, computer chess engines compete against each other. The event is organized by the International Computer Games Association. It is often held in c ...
. In the late 1970s, dedicated home chess computers such as Fidelity Electronics' '' Chess Challenger'' became commercially available, as well as software to run on home computers. However, the overall standard of computer chess was low until the 1990s. The first endgame tablebases, which provided perfect play for relatively simple endgames such as king and rook versus king and bishop, appeared in the late 1970s. This set a precedent to the complete six- and seven-piece tablebases that became available in the 2000s and 2010s respectively. The first commercial chess database, a collection of chess games searchable by move and position, was introduced by the German company ChessBase in 1987. Databases containing millions of chess games have since had a profound effect on opening theory and other areas of chess research. Digital chess clocks were invented in 1973, though they did not become commonplace until the 1990s. Digital clocks allow for time controls involving increments and delays.


1990–present: Rise of computers and online chess


Technology

The
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a '' network of networks'' that consists of private, p ...
enabled
online chess Online chess is chess that is played over the Internet, allowing players to play against each other in real time. This is done through the use of Internet chess servers, which often include a system to pair up individual players based on their rat ...
as a new medium of playing, with chess servers allowing users to play other people from different parts of the world in real time. The first such server, known as Internet Chess Server or ICS, was developed at the University of Utah in 1992. ICS formed the basis for the first commercial chess server, the
Internet Chess Club The Internet Chess Club (ICC) is a commercial Internet chess server devoted to the play and discussion of chess and chess variants. ICC had over 30,000 subscribing members in 2005.John Black, Martin Cochran, Martin Ryan Gardner"Lessons Learned ...
, which was launched in 1995, and for other early chess servers such as FICS (Free Internet Chess Server). Since then, many other platforms have appeared, and online chess began to rival over-the-board chess in popularity. During the 2020
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The novel virus was first identif ...
, the isolation ensuing from
quarantine A quarantine is a restriction on the Freedom of movement, movement of people, animals and goods which is intended to prevent the spread of disease or Pest (organism), pests. It is often used in connection to disease and illness, preventing th ...
s imposed in many places around the world, combined with the success of the popular
Netflix Netflix, Inc. is an American video on demand#Subscription models, subscription video on-demand Over-the-top media service, over-the-top Streaming media, streaming service and production company based in Los Gatos, California. Founded in 1997 b ...
show '' The Queen's Gambit'' and other factors such as the popularity of online tournaments (notably
PogChamps PogChamps is a series of online amateur chess tournament A chess tournament is a series of chess games played competitively to determine a winning individual or team. Since the first international chess tournament in London 1851 chess tournamen ...
) and chess Twitch streamers, resulted in a surge of popularity not only for online chess, but for the game of chess in general; this phenomenon has been referred to in the media as the 2020 online chess boom.
Computer chess Computer chess includes both hardware (dedicated computers) and Computer software, software capable of playing chess. Computer chess provides opportunities for players to practice even in the absence of human opponents, and also provides opport ...
has also seen major advances. By the 1990s, chess engines could consistently defeat most amateurs, and in 1997 Deep Blue defeated World Champion Garry Kasparov in a six-game match, starting an era of computer dominance at the highest level of chess. In the 2010s, engines of superhuman strength became accessible for free on a number of PC and mobile platforms, and free engine analysis became a commonplace feature on internet chess servers. An adverse effect of the easy availability of engine analysis on hand-held devices and personal computers has been the rise of computer cheating, which has grown to be a major concern in both over-the-board and online chess. In 2017,
AlphaZero AlphaZero is a computer program developed by artificial intelligence research company DeepMind to master the games of chess, shogi and Go (game), go. This algorithm uses an approach similar to AlphaGo Zero. On December 5, 2017, the DeepMin ...
– a
neural network A neural network is a network or neural circuit, circuit of biological neurons, or, in a modern sense, an artificial neural network, composed of artificial neurons or nodes. Thus, a neural network is either a biological neural network, made up ...
also capable of playing
shogi , also known as Japanese chess, is a strategy board game Board games are tabletop games that typically use . These pieces are moved or placed on a pre-marked board (playing surface) and often include elements of Tabletop game, table, Card g ...
and Go – was introduced. Since then, many chess engines based on neural network evaluation have been written, the best of which have surpassed the traditional " brute-force" engines. AlphaZero also introduced many novel ideas and ways of playing the game, which affected the style of play at the top level. As endgame tablebases developed, they began to provide perfect play in endgame positions in which the game-theoretical outcome was previously unknown, such as positions with king, queen and pawn against king and queen. In 1991, Lewis Stiller published a tablebase for select six-piece endgames, and by 2005, following the publication of Nalimov tablebases, all six-piece endgame positions were solved. In 2012, Lomonosov tablebases were published which solved all seven-piece endgame positions. Use of tablebases enhances the performance of chess engines by providing definitive results in some branches of analysis. Technological progress made in the 1990s and the 21st century has influenced the way that chess is studied at all levels, as well as the state of chess as a
spectator sport A spectator sport is a sport that is characterized by the presence of spectators, or watchers, at its competitions. Spectator sports may be professional sports or amateur sports. They often are distinguished from participant sports, which are m ...
. Previously, preparation at the professional level required an extensive chess library and several subscriptions to publications such as ''
Chess Informant Chess Informant (Šahovski Informator) is a publishing company from Belgrade Belgrade ( , ;, ; names in other languages) is the capital and largest city in Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian language, Serbian: , , ), officially the Repub ...
'' to keep up with opening developments and study opponents' games. Today, preparation at the professional level involves the use of databases containing millions of games, and engines to analyze different opening variations and prepare novelties. A number of online learning resources are also available for players of all levels, such as online courses, tactics trainers, and video lessons. Since the late 1990s, it has been possible to follow major international chess events online, the players' moves being relayed in real time. Sensory boards have been developed to enable automatic transmission of moves. Chess players will frequently run engines while watching these games, allowing them to quickly identify mistakes by the players and spot tactical opportunities. While in the past the moves have been relayed live, today chess organizers will often impose a half-hour delay as an anti-cheating measure. In the mid-to-late 2010s – and especially following the 2020 online boom – it became commonplace for supergrandmasters, such as
Hikaru Nakamura Christopher Hikaru NakamuraMagnus Carlsen Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen (born 30 November 1990) is a Norwegian chess grandmaster who is the reigning five-time World Chess Champion. He is also a three-time World Rapid Chess Champion and five-time World Blitz Chess Champion. Carlsen has ...
, to livestream chess content on platforms such as Twitch. Also following the boom, online chess started being viewed as an e-sport, with e-sport teams signing chess players for the first time in 2020.


Growth

Organized chess even for young children has become common. FIDE holds world championships for age levels down to 8 years old. The largest tournaments, in number of players, are those held for children. The number of grandmasters and other chess professionals has also grown in the modern era. Kenneth Regan and Guy Haworth conducted research involving comparison of move choices by players of different levels and from different periods with the analysis of strong chess engines; they concluded that the increase in the number of grandmasters and higher Elo ratings of the top players reflect an actual increase in the average standard of play, rather than "rating inflation" or "title inflation".


Professional chess

In 1993, Garry Kasparov and Nigel Short broke ties with FIDE to organize their own match for the title and formed a competing
Professional Chess Association The Professional Chess Association (PCA), which existed between 1993 and 1996, was a rival organisation to FIDE The International Chess Federation or World Chess Federation, commonly referred to by its French acronym FIDE ( Fédération Interna ...
(PCA). From then until 2006, there were two simultaneous World Championships and respective World Champions: the PCA or "classical" champions extending the Steinitzian tradition in which the current champion plays a challenger in a series of games, and the other following FIDE's new format of many players competing in a large knockout tournament to determine the champion. Kasparov lost his PCA title in
2000 File:2000 Events Collage.png, From left, clockwise: Protests against Bush v. Gore after the 2000 United States presidential election; Heads of state meet for the Millennium Summit; The International Space Station in its infant form as seen from ST ...
to
Vladimir Kramnik Vladimir Borisovich Kramnik (russian: Влади́мир Бори́сович Кра́мник; born 25 June 1975) is a Russians, Russian chess grandmaster (chess), grandmaster. He was the World Chess Champion#Split title (1993–2006), Classic ...
of Russia. Due to the complicated state of world chess politics and difficulties obtaining commercial sponsorships, Kasparov was never able to challenge for the title again. Despite this, he continued to dominate in top level tournaments and remained the world's highest rated player until his retirement from competitive chess in 2005. The World Chess Championship 2006, in which Kramnik beat the FIDE World Champion
Veselin Topalov Veselin Aleksandrov Topalov (pronounced ; bg, Весели́н Александров Топа́лов; born 15 March 1975) is a Bulgarian chess Chess is a board game between two Player (game), players. It is sometimes called internation ...
, reunified the titles and made Kramnik the undisputed World Chess Champion. In September 2007, he lost the title to
Viswanathan Anand Viswanathan "Vishy" Anand (born 11 December 1969) is an Indian chess grandmaster and a former five-time World Chess Championship, World Chess Champion. He became the first grandmaster from India in 1988, and is one of the few players to have ...
of India, who won the championship tournament in
Mexico City Mexico City ( es, link=no, Ciudad de México, ; abbr.: CDMX; Nahuatl: ''Altepetl Mexico'') is the capital city, capital and primate city, largest city of Mexico, and the List of North American cities by population, most populous city in North Amer ...
. Anand defended his title in the revenge match of 2008, 2010 and 2012. In 2013,
Magnus Carlsen Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen (born 30 November 1990) is a Norwegian chess grandmaster who is the reigning five-time World Chess Champion. He is also a three-time World Rapid Chess Champion and five-time World Blitz Chess Champion. Carlsen has ...
of Norway beat Anand in the 2013 World Chess Championship. He defended his title 4 times since then and is the reigning world champion.


Connections


Arts and humanities

In the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the Post-classical, post-classical period of World history (field), global history. It began with t ...
and during the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a Periodization, period in History of Europe, European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries, characterized by an e ...
, chess was a part of noble culture; it was used to teach war strategy and was dubbed the " King's Game". Gentlemen are "to be meanly seene in the play at Chestes", says the overview at the beginning of
Baldassare Castiglione Baldassare Castiglione, Count of Casatico (; 6 December 1478 – 2 February 1529),Dates of birth and death, and cause of the latter, fro, ''Italica'', Rai International online. was an Italian courtier A courtier () is a person who attends the ...
's ''
The Book of the Courtier ''The Book of the Courtier'' ( it, Il Cortegiano ) by Baldassare Castiglione is a lengthy philosophical dialogue on the topic of what constitutes an ideal courtier or (in the third chapter) court lady, worthy to befriend and advise a Prince or pol ...
'' (1528, English 1561 by Sir Thomas Hoby), but chess should not be a gentleman's main passion. Castiglione explains it further:
And what say you to the game at chestes? It is truely an honest kynde of enterteynmente and wittie, quoth Syr Friderick. But me think it hath a fault, whiche is, that a man may be to couning at it, for who ever will be excellent in the playe of chestes, I beleave he must beestowe much tyme about it, and applie it with so much study, that a man may assoone learne some noble scyence, or compase any other matter of importaunce, and yet in the ende in beestowing all that laboure, he knoweth no more but a game. Therfore in this I beleave there happeneth a very rare thing, namely, that the meane is more commendable, then the excellency.
Some of the elaborate chess sets used by the aristocracy at least partially survive, such as the Lewis chessmen. Chess was often used as a basis of sermons on
morality Morality () is the differentiation of intentions, decisions and actions between those that are distinguished as proper (right) and those that are improper (wrong). Morality can be a body of standards or principles derived from a code of co ...
. An example is ''Liber de moribus hominum et officiis nobilium sive super ludo scacchorum'' ('Book of the customs of men and the duties of nobles or the Book of Chess'), written by an Italian Dominican monk Jacobus de Cessolis . This book was one of the most popular of the Middle Ages. The work was translated into many other languages (the first printed edition was published at Utrecht in 1473) and was the basis for
William Caxton William Caxton ( – ) was an English merchant, diplomat and writer. He is thought to be the first person to introduce a printing press into England, in 1476, and as a printer (publisher), printer to be the first English retailer of printed boo ...
's ''The Game and Playe of the Chesse'' (1474), one of the first books printed in English. Different chess pieces were used as metaphors for different classes of people, and human duties were derived from the rules of the game or from visual properties of the chess pieces:
The knyght ought to be made alle armed upon an hors in suche wyse that he haue an helme on his heed and a spere in his ryght hande/ and coueryd wyth his sheld/ a swerde and a mace on his lyft syde/ Cladd wyth an hawberk and plates to fore his breste/ legge harnoys on his legges/ Spores on his heelis on his handes his gauntelettes/ his hors well broken and taught and apte to bataylle and couerid with his armes/ whan the knyghtes ben maad they ben bayned or bathed/ that is the signe that they shold lede a newe lyf and newe maners/ also they wake alle the nyght in prayers and orysons vnto god that he wylle gyue hem grace that they may gete that thynge that they may not gete by nature/ The kynge or prynce gyrdeth a boute them a swerde in signe/ that they shold abyde and kepe hym of whom they take theyr dispenses and dignyte.
Known in the circles of clerics, students, and merchants, chess entered into the popular culture of the Middle Ages. An example is the 209th song of
Carmina Burana ''Carmina Burana'' (, Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) arou ...
from the 13th century, which starts with the names of chess pieces, ''Roch, pedites, regina...'' The game of chess, at times, has been discouraged by various religious authorities in Middle Ages: Jewish, Catholic and Orthodox. Some Muslim authorities prohibited it even recently, for example
Ruhollah Khomeini Ruhollah Khomeini, Ayatollah Khomeini, Imam Khomeini ( , ; ; 17 May 1900 – 3 June 1989) was an Iranian political and religious leader who served as the first supreme leader of Iran from 1979 until his death in 1989. He was the founder of ...
in 1979 and Abdul-Aziz ash-Sheikh even later. During the
Age of Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment or the Enlightenment; german: Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it, L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl, Oświecenie, "Enlightenment"; pt, Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es, La Ilustración, "Enlightenment" was an intel ...
, chess was viewed as a means of self-improvement.
Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin ( April 17, 1790) was an American polymath who was active as a writer, scientist, Invention, inventor, Statesman (politician), statesman, diplomat, printer (publishing), printer, publisher, and Political philosophy, politi ...
, in his article " The Morals of Chess" (1750), wrote:
The Game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement; several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions; for life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events, that are, in some degree, the effect of prudence, or the want of it. By playing at Chess then, we may learn: I. Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and considers the consequences that may attend an action ... II. Circumspection, which surveys the whole Chess-board, or scene of action: – the relation of the several Pieces, and their situations ... III. Caution, not to make our moves too hastily ...
Chess was occasionally criticized in the 19th century as a waste of time. Chess is taught to children in schools around the world today. Many schools host chess clubs, and there are many scholastic tournaments specifically for children. Tournaments are held regularly in many countries, hosted by organizations such as the
United States Chess Federation The United States Chess Federation (also known as US Chess or USCF) is the governing body for chess competition in the United States and represents the U.S. in FIDE, the World Chess Federation. US Chess administers the official national Chess rat ...
and the National Scholastic Chess Foundation. Chess is many times depicted in
the arts The arts are a very wide range of human practices of creative expression, storytelling Storytelling is the social and cultural activity of sharing narrative, stories, sometimes with improvisation, theatre, theatrics or embellishment. E ...
; significant works where chess plays a key role range from Thomas Middleton's '' A Game at Chess'' to ''
Through the Looking-Glass ''Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There'' (also known as ''Alice Through the Looking-Glass'' or simply ''Through the Looking-Glass'') is a novel published on 27 December 1871 (though indicated as 1872) by Lewis Carroll and the ...
'' by Lewis Carroll, to Vladimir Nabokov's '' The Defense'', to '' The Royal Game'' by Stefan Zweig. Chess has also featured in film classics such as
Ingmar Bergman Ernst Ingmar Bergman (14 July 1918 – 30 July 2007) was a Swedish film director, screenwriter, Film producer, producer and playwright. Widely considered one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time, his films are known ...
's ''
The Seventh Seal ''The Seventh Seal'' ( sv, Det sjunde inseglet) is a 1957 Swedish historical fantasy film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. Set in Sweden during the Black Death, it tells of the journey of a medieval knight (Max von Sydow) and a game of ch ...
'',
Satyajit Ray Satyajit Ray (; 2 May 1921 – 23 April 1992) was an Indian Film director, director, screenwriter, documentary film, documentary film director, filmmaker, author, list of essayists, essayist, lyricist, magazine editor, illustrator, call ...
's '' The Chess Players'', and
Powell and Pressburger The Cinema of the United Kingdom, British film-making partnership of Michael Powell (1905–1990) and Emeric Pressburger (1902–1988)—together often known as The Archers, the name of their production company—made a series of influential fi ...
's '' A Matter of Life and Death''. Chess is also present in contemporary popular culture. For example, the characters in ''
Star Trek ''Star Trek'' is an American science fiction media franchise created by Gene Roddenberry, which began with the Star Trek: The Original Series, eponymous 1960s television series and quickly became a worldwide Popular culture, pop-culture Cul ...
'' play a futuristic version of the game called "
Federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing provinces, states, or other regions under a central federal government (federalism). In a federation, the self-govern ...
Tri-Dimensional Chess" and " Wizard's Chess" is played in J.K. Rowling's ''
Harry Potter ''Harry Potter'' is a series of seven fantasy literature, fantasy novels written by British author J. K. Rowling. The novels chronicle the lives of a young Magician (fantasy), wizard, Harry Potter (character), Harry Potter, and his friends ...
''.


Mathematics

The game structure and nature of chess are related to several branches of mathematics. Many combinatorical and
topological In mathematics, topology (from the Greek language, Greek words , and ) is concerned with the properties of a mathematical object, geometric object that are preserved under Continuous function, continuous Deformation theory, deformations, such ...
problems connected to chess, such as the
knight's tour A knight's tour is a sequence of moves of a knight (chess), knight on a chessboard such that the knight visits every square exactly once. If the knight ends on a square that is one knight's move from the beginning square (so that it could tour th ...
and the
eight queens puzzle The eight queens puzzle is the problem of placing eight chess Chess is a board game between two Player (game), players. It is sometimes called international chess or Western chess to distinguish it from chess variant, related games, such a ...
, have been known for hundreds of years. The number of legal positions in chess is estimated to be 4.59 (+/- 0.38) x1044 with a 95% confidence level, with a
game-tree complexity Combinatorial game theory has several ways of Computational complexity theory, measuring game complexity. This article describes five of them: state-space complexity, game tree size, decision complexity, game-tree complexity, and computational com ...
of approximately 10123. The game-tree complexity of chess was first calculated by
Claude Shannon Claude Elwood Shannon (April 30, 1916 – February 24, 2001) was an American people, American mathematician, electrical engineering, electrical engineer, and cryptography, cryptographer known as a "father of information theory". As a 21-year-o ...
as 10120, a number known as the
Shannon number The Shannon number, named after the American mathematician Claude Shannon Claude Elwood Shannon (April 30, 1916 – February 24, 2001) was an American people, American mathematician, electrical engineering, electrical engineer, and cryptograph ...
. An average position typically has thirty to forty possible moves, but there may be as few as zero (in the case of checkmate or stalemate) or (in a constructed position) as many as 218. In 1913, Ernst Zermelo used chess as a basis for his theory of game strategies, which is considered one of the predecessors of
game theory Game theory is the study of mathematical models of strategic interactions among rational agents. Myerson, Roger B. (1991). ''Game Theory: Analysis of Conflict,'' Harvard University Press, p.&nbs1 Chapter-preview links, ppvii–xi It has appl ...
. Zermelo's theorem states that it is possible to solve chess, i.e. to determine with certainty the outcome of a perfectly played game (either White can force a win, or Black can force a win, or both sides can force at least a draw). However, with 1043 legal positions in chess, it will take an impossibly long time to compute a perfect strategy with any feasible technology.


Psychology

There is an extensive scientific literature on chess psychology. Alfred Binet and others showed that
knowledge Knowledge can be defined as Descriptive knowledge, awareness of facts or as Procedural knowledge, practical skills, and may also refer to Knowledge by acquaintance, familiarity with objects or situations. Knowledge of facts, also called pro ...
and verbal, rather than visuospatial, ability lies at the core of expertise. In his doctoral thesis,
Adriaan de Groot Adrianus Dingeman (Adriaan) de Groot (Santpoort, 26 October 1914 – Schiermonnikoog (island and municipality), Schiermonnikoog, 14 August 2006) was a Dutch chess master and psychologist, who conducted some of the most famous chess experiment ...
showed that chess masters can rapidly perceive the key features of a position. According to de Groot, this
perception Perception () is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information or environment. All perception involves signals that go through the nervous syste ...
, made possible by years of practice and study, is more important than the sheer ability to anticipate moves. De Groot showed that chess masters can memorize positions shown for a few seconds almost perfectly. The ability to memorize does not alone account for chess-playing skill, since masters and novices, when faced with random arrangements of chess pieces, had equivalent recall (about six positions in each case). Rather, it is the ability to recognize patterns, which are then memorized, which distinguished the skilled players from the novices. When the positions of the pieces were taken from an actual game, the masters had almost total positional recall. More recent research has focused on chess as mental training; the respective roles of knowledge and look-ahead search;
brain imaging Neuroimaging is the use of quantitative (computational) techniques to study the neuroanatomy, structure and function of the central nervous system, developed as an objective way of scientifically studying the healthy human brain in a non-invasive ...
studies of chess masters and novices;
blindfold chess Blindfold chess, also known as ''sans voir'', is a form of chess play wherein the players do not see the positions of the pieces and do not touch them. This forces players to maintain a mental model of the positions of the pieces. Moves are commun ...
; the role of
personality Personality is the characteristic sets of behaviors, cognitions, and emotional patterns that are formed from biological and environmental factors, and which change over time. While there is no generally agreed-upon definition of personality, mos ...
and
intelligence Intelligence has been defined in many ways: the capacity for abstraction, logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning Learning is the process of acquiring new understanding, knowledge, behaviors, skills, value (personal and cultura ...
in chess skill; gender differences; and computational models of chess expertise. The role of practice and talent in the development of chess and other domains of expertise has led to much empirical investigation. Ericsson and colleagues have argued that deliberate practice is sufficient for reaching high levels of expertise in chess. Recent research, however, fails to replicate their results and indicates that factors other than practice are also important.Gobet, F. & Chassy, P. (in press).   ''Journal of Biosocial Science''.
Gobet, F. & Campitelli, G. (2007).   ''Developmental Psychology'', 43, 159–72. Both retrieved 2007-07-15.
For example, Fernand Gobet and colleagues have shown that stronger players started playing chess at a young age and that experts born in the Northern Hemisphere are more likely to have been born in late winter and early spring. Compared to the general population, chess players are more likely to be non-right-handed, though they found no correlation between handedness and skill. A relationship between chess skill and intelligence has long been discussed in scientific literature as well as in popular culture. Academic studies that investigate the relationship date back at least to 1927. Although one meta-analysis and most children studies find a positive correlation between general cognitive ability and chess skill, adult studies show mixed results.


Composition

Chess composition is the art of creating chess problems (also called chess compositions). The creator is known as a chess composer. There are many types of chess problems; the two most important are: * White to move first and checkmate Black within a specified number of moves, against any defense. These are often referred to as "mate in " – for example "mate in three" (a ); two- and three-move problems are the most common. These usually involve positions that would be highly unlikely to occur in an actual game, and are intended to illustrate a particular , usually requiring a surprising or counter-intuitive move. Themes associated with chess problems occasionally appear in actual games, when they are referred to as "problem-like" moves. * orthodox problems where the stipulation is that White to play must win or draw. The majority of studies are endgame positions.
Fairy chess Fairy chess is the area of chess composition in which there are some changes to the rules of chess. The term was introduced by Henry Tate (poet), Henry Tate in 1914. Thomas Rayner Dawson, Thomas R. Dawson (1889–1951), the "father of fairy chess ...
is a branch of chess problem composition involving altered rules, such as the use of unconventional pieces or boards, or unusual stipulations such as reflexmates. Tournaments for composition and solving of chess problems are organized by the World Federation for Chess Composition, which works cooperatively with but independent of FIDE. The WFCC awards titles for composing and solving chess problems.


Online chess

Online chess is chess that is played over the internet, allowing players to play against each other in real time. This is done through the use of Internet chess servers, which pair up individual players based on their rating using an Elo or similar rating system. Online chess saw a spike in growth during the
quarantine A quarantine is a restriction on the Freedom of movement, movement of people, animals and goods which is intended to prevent the spread of disease or Pest (organism), pests. It is often used in connection to disease and illness, preventing th ...
s of the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The novel virus was first identif ...
. This can be attributed to both isolation and the popularity of
Netflix Netflix, Inc. is an American video on demand#Subscription models, subscription video on-demand Over-the-top media service, over-the-top Streaming media, streaming service and production company based in Los Gatos, California. Founded in 1997 b ...
miniseries '' The Queen's Gambit'', which was released in October 2020. Chess app downloads on the
App Store An App Store (or app marketplace) is a type of digital distribution Digital distribution, also referred to as content delivery, online distribution, or electronic software distribution, among others, is the delivery or distribution of digital ...
and
Google Play Store Google Play, also known as the Google Play Store and formerly the Android Market, is a digital distribution service operated and developed by Google. It serves as the official app store for certified devices running on the Android (operating sys ...
rose by 63% after the show debuted. Chess.com saw more than twice as many account registrations in November as it had in previous months, and the number of games played monthly on Lichess doubled as well. There was also a demographic shift in players, with female registration on Chess.com shifting from 22% to 27% of new players. Grandmaster Maurice Ashley said "A boom is taking place in chess like we have never seen maybe since the Bobby Fischer days," attributing the growth to an increased desire to do something constructive during the pandemic. USCF Women's Program Director
Jennifer Shahade Jennifer Shahade (born December 31, 1980) is an American chess player, poker player, commentator and writer. She is a two-time United States Women's Champion and has the FIDE title of Woman Grandmaster. Shahade is the author of the books ''Chess ...
stated that chess works well on the internet, since pieces do not need to be reset and
matchmaking Matchmaking is the process of matching two or more people together, usually for the purpose of marriage, in which case the matchmaker is also known as a marriage broker. The word is also used in the context of sporting events such as boxing, in ...
is virtually instant.


Computer chess

The idea of creating a chess-playing machine dates to the 18th century; around 1769, the chess-playing
automaton An automaton (; plural: automata or automatons) is a relatively self-operating machine, or control mechanism designed to automatically follow a sequence of operations, or respond to predetermined instructions.Automaton – Definition and More ...
called The Turk became famous before being exposed as a
hoax A hoax is a widely publicized falsehood so fashioned as to invite reflexive, unthinking acceptance by the greatest number of people of the most varied social identities and of the highest possible social pretensions to gull its victims into pu ...
. Serious trials based on automata, such as El Ajedrecista, were too complex and limited to be useful. Since the advent of the
digital computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to Execution (computing), carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations (computation) automatically. Modern digital electronic computers can perform generic sets of operations known as C ...
in the 1950s, chess enthusiasts,
computer engineer Computer engineering (CoE or CpE) is a branch of electrical engineering and computer science that integrates several fields of computer science and electronic engineering required to develop computer hardware and computer software, software. C ...
s, and computer scientists have built, with increasing degrees of seriousness and success, chess-playing machines and computer programs. The groundbreaking paper on computer chess, "Programming a Computer for Playing Chess", was published in 1950 by
Claude Shannon Claude Elwood Shannon (April 30, 1916 – February 24, 2001) was an American people, American mathematician, electrical engineering, electrical engineer, and cryptography, cryptographer known as a "father of information theory". As a 21-year-o ...
. He wrote:
The chess machine is an ideal one to start with, since: (1) the problem is sharply defined both in allowed operations (the moves) and in the ultimate goal (checkmate); (2) it is neither so simple as to be trivial nor too difficult for satisfactory solution; (3) chess is generally considered to require "thinking" for skillful play; a solution of this problem will force us either to admit the possibility of a mechanized thinking or to further restrict our concept of "thinking"; (4) the discrete structure of chess fits well into the digital nature of modern computers.
The
Association for Computing Machinery The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is a US-based international learned society for computing. It was founded in 1947 and is the world's largest scientific and educational computing society. The ACM is a nonprofit organization, non-pr ...
(ACM) held the first major chess tournament for computers, the North American Computer Chess Championship, in September 1970. CHESS 3.0, a chess program from
Northwestern University Northwestern University is a private research university in Evanston, Illinois. Founded in 1851, Northwestern is the oldest chartered university in Illinois Illinois ( ) is a state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern Unite ...
, won the championship. The first
World Computer Chess Championship World Computer Chess Championship (WCCC) is an event held periodically since 1974 where computer chess, computer chess engines compete against each other. The event is organized by the International Computer Games Association. It is often held in c ...
, held in 1974, was won by the Soviet program Kaissa. At first considered only a curiosity, the best chess playing programs have become extremely strong. In 1997, a computer won a chess match using classical time controls against a reigning World Champion for the first time: IBM's Deep Blue beat
Garry Kasparov Garry Kimovich Kasparov (born 13 April 1963) is a Russian chess Grandmaster (chess), grandmaster, former World Chess Champion, writer, political activist and commentator. His peak Elo rating system, rating of 2851, achieved in 1999, was the hi ...
3½–2½ (it scored two wins, one loss, and three draws). There was some controversy over the match, and human-computer matches were relatively close over the next few years, until convincing computer victories in
2005 File:2005 Events Collage V2.png, From top left, clockwise: Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico; the Funeral of Pope John Paul II is held in Vatican City; "Me at the zoo", the first video ever to be uploaded to YouTube; Eris (dwarf planet), Er ...
and in 2006. In 2009, a
mobile phone A mobile phone, cellular phone, cell phone, cellphone, handphone, hand phone or pocket phone, sometimes shortened to simply mobile, cell, or just phone, is a portable telephone that can make and receive telephone call, calls over a radio freq ...
won a
category Category, plural categories, may refer to: Philosophy and general uses *Categorization, categories in cognitive science, information science and generally *Category of being *Categories (Aristotle), ''Categories'' (Aristotle) *Category (Kant) ...
6 tournament with a performance rating of 2898: chess engine Hiarcs 13 running on the mobile phone HTC Touch HD won the Copa Mercosur tournament with nine wins and one draw. The best chess programs are now able to consistently beat the strongest human players, to the extent that human–computer matches no longer attract interest from chess players or the media. While the
World Computer Chess Championship World Computer Chess Championship (WCCC) is an event held periodically since 1974 where computer chess, computer chess engines compete against each other. The event is organized by the International Computer Games Association. It is often held in c ...
still exists, the Top Chess Engine Championship (TCEC) is widely regarded as the unofficial world championship for chess
engines An engine or motor is a machine A machine is a physical system using Power (physics), power to apply Force, forces and control Motion, movement to perform an action. The term is commonly applied to artificial devices, such as those employ ...
. The current champion is
Stockfish Stockfish is unsalted fish, especially cod, dried by cold air and wind on wooden racks (which are called "hjell" in Norway) on the foreshore. The Drying (food), drying of food is the world's oldest known preservation method, and dried fish has ...
. With huge databases of past games and high analytical ability, computers can help players to learn chess and prepare for matches. Internet Chess Servers allow people to find and play opponents worldwide. The presence of computers and modern communication tools have raised concerns regarding cheating during games.


Variants

There are more than two thousand published chess variants, games with similar but different rules. Most of them are of relatively recent origin. They include: * direct predecessors of chess, such as
chaturanga Chaturanga ( sa, चतुरङ्ग; ') is an ancient Indian Abstract strategy game, strategy game. While there is some uncertainty, the prevailing view among chess historians is that it is the common ancestor of the board games chess (Europ ...
and
shatranj Shatranj ( ar, شطرنج; fa, شترنج; from Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg () in its later form, is a Western Iranian languages#Middle Iranian, Middle Iranian language which bec ...
; * traditional national or regional games that share common ancestors with Western chess such as
xiangqi ''Xiangqi'' (; ), also called Chinese chess or elephant chess, is a Abstract strategy game, strategy board game for two players. It is the most popular board game in China. ''Xiangqi'' is in the same family of games as ''shogi'', ''janggi'', ...
,
shogi , also known as Japanese chess, is a strategy board game Board games are tabletop games that typically use . These pieces are moved or placed on a pre-marked board (playing surface) and often include elements of Tabletop game, table, Card g ...
,
janggi ''Janggi'' (including romanizations ''changgi'' and ''jangki''), sometimes called Korean chess, is a Abstract strategy game, strategy board game popular on the Korean Peninsula. The game was derived from xiangqi (Chinese chess), and is very sim ...
,
makruk ''Makruk'' ( th, หมากรุก; ; ), or Thai chess, is a board game that is descended from the 6th-century Indian game of ''chaturanga'' or a close relative thereof, and is therefore related to chess. It is part of the family of chess va ...
, sittuyin, and shatar; * modern variations employing different rules (e.g. Losing chess or
Chess960 Fischer random chess, also known as Chess960 (often read in this context as 'chess nine-sixty' instead of 'chess nine hundred sixty'), is a Chess variant, variation of the game of chess invented by the former World Chess Championship 1972, world ...
), different forces (e.g. Dunsany's Chess), non-standard pieces (e.g.
Grand Chess Grand Chess is a large-board chess variant invented by Dutch games designer Christian Freeling in 1984. It is played on a 10×10 Chessboard, board, with each side having two additional pawns and two new pieces: the ''marshal'' and the ''cardina ...
), and different board geometries (e.g.
hexagonal chess Hexagonal chess is a group of chess variant A chess variant is a game related to, derived from, or inspired by chess. Such variants can differ from chess in many different ways. "International" or "Western" chess itself is one of a family of g ...
or
Infinite chess Infinite chess is any Chess variant, variation of the game of chess played on an Bounded set, unbounded chessboard. Versions of infinite chess have been introduced independently by multiple players, chess theorists, and mathematicians, both as a ...
); In the context of chess variants, regular (i.e. FIDE) chess is commonly referred to as , , , , and .


See also

*
Glossary of chess This glossary of chess explains commonly used terms in chess Chess is a board game between two Player (game), players. It is sometimes called international chess or Western chess to distinguish it from chess variant, related games, such as ...
* List of chess games * List of chess players * List of strong chess tournaments * List of World Chess Championships * Women in chess


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* * * * * * (see the included supplement, "How Do You Play Chess") * * *


External links

* ;International organizations
FIDE
nbsp;– World Chess Federation
ICCF
nbsp;–
International Correspondence Chess Federation International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF) was founded on 26 March 1951 as a new appearance of the International Correspondence Chess Association (ICCA), which was founded in 1945, as successor of the Internationaler Fernschachbund ( ...
;News
Chessbase news

The Week in Chess
;History

{{Authority control Abstract strategy games Individual sports Indian inventions Traditional board games Partially solved games Games related to chaturanga