The spread of the game of chess from its cradle near present day Iran following trade routes to north Africa and the Roman Empire (Spain and Italy) and eventually inland and northward to Russia, Germany, and Scandinavia
Ninth century chess pieces of abstract form, showing the influence of the Islamic prohibition against creating images of animals
Abstract form of Islamic chess pieces (knight and bishop)
Tenth century Spanish chess set in the Islamic style
Eleventh century Anglo-Saxon bishop carved from whale bone
Isle of Lewis chess pieces, a Knight (left) and three Kings
Mikhail Botvinnik, born in 1911 in Kuokkala, which was part of Finland (near St. Petersburg) until 1944, after which it was annexed to Russia. Botvinnik became a master chess player at 16, world champion in 1948.
Vasily Smyslov with father, about 1945 (left); Smyslov in 2004 (right)