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Chess Merit Badge Chess History: An Ancient & Popular Strategy Game © 2011 by Joseph L. Bell with a lot of material from Dr. John McCrary
History of Chess Origin in India as Chaturanga Spread to Persia, Middle East, & Europe Changes to piece moves in Europe Ben Franklin and The Morals of Chess Development of tournaments Chess organizations: FIDE and USCF World Championships © 2011Page 2Chess Merit Badge
Chaturanga Chess originated in India around A.D 600 as Chaturanga Chaturanga meant four-limbed, which referred to the four parts of the army: Chariots, Horses, Elephants, and Foot soldiers, as well as pieces representing the ruler and his minister © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 3
Chaturanga © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 4
Chaturanga Chaturanga Pieces: –The Chariot moved swiftly horizontally and vertically. The chariot became the Rook. –The Horse could leap obstacles and turn quickly. The horse became the Knight. –The Elephant was limited to moving two squares diagonally. It became the Bishop. –The Foot Soldier became the Pawn, which cannot move backward to retreat. © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 5
Chaturanga Chaturanga pieces (Contd): –The Minister could move only one square diagonally. This became the Queen. –The Ruler became the King. The initial board setup in Chaturanga did not have Kings on the same file (It had the White Queen & Black King on d-file, and reversed on the e-file.) © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 6
Chaturanga Checkmate was a win (in Persia, called Shah mat or the King is helpless) Stalemate, or a bare king (no pieces left), were also considered a win Pawns could promote, but only to a Minister (a weak piece) Chaturanga spread to Europe, and to China and Japan in different forms © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 7
Chess in the Middle East Chess spread with Moslem conquests in the Middle Ages By the 9 th century, chess had complex literature, champions and professionals Moslem players were ranked, not mathematically, but by titles ranging from Grandee to beneath contempt © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 8
Medieval Chess Game © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 9 A game of chess between a Spanish crusader and Saracen ( ), 1252, Alfonso X the Wise of Castile, Chess (circa 13 th century)
Chess Spreads to Europe Chess reached Europe by A.D from contacts with the Moslem world It was very popular with the knights and nobility English changed to elephant to Bishop The horse became the Knight Other Christian countries adopted other names (Germans use Springer for Knight) © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 10
Lewis Chess Set (12 th century) © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 11 Woodcut from an 1841 article, shortly after discovery of the Lewis set
Chess in Europe The Minister changed to Queen and kept its weak moves until about 1475 The game with stronger Queen moves was called Mad Queen Chess by some Around the 13 th century, players were allowing the King to move two squares (or like a Knight) in its first move. © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 12
Chess in Europe (contd) The Minister changed to Queen and kept its weak moves until about 1475 In the 13 th century pawns were allowed to move 2 squares on the first move. En passant capture was not allowed in some areas into the 19 th century © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 13
Chess in Europe (contd) In the 13 th century, players were allowed to move the King 2 squares in any direction (and like a Knight) on the Kings first move By the 17 th century, modern castling in a single move was established, but this was not universally standardized until the late 1800s. © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 14
Chess in Europe Moves of the Queen and Bishop changed to modern form around 1475 in either Spain, France or Italy The game with stronger Queen moves was called Chess of the Mad Queen by some The new game was so superior, the medieval chess was extinct in a few decades © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 15
Repetici ó n de Amores y Arte de Ajedrez, by Luis Ramirez de Lucena (1497) © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 16 As of today, this is the oldest known book about Chess. The title translated into English is: Repeat Loves and Art of Chess
Chess in Europe (contd) Some played that Pawn promotion was only to an already captured piece, until the pawn promotion rule standardized in modern form in early 19 th century © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 17
Chess in Europe (contd) Medieval chess treated stalemate as a win, but an English book in 1614 said a stale is very dishonorable to him that giveth it and declared a stalemate a loss for the player giving it The loss by stalemate rule was used in England and America until the early 19 th century, when the stalemate draw rule became universal © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 18
Spanish Chess Opening theory had to be totally revised for the new Queen and Bishop moves. One of the early opening analysts was a Spanish priest named Ruy Lopez The Spanish were the most active chess players at this time Chess was brought to the New World as early as 1533, when Inca Chief Atahualpa was taught the moves © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 19
Chess in the 18 th Century Paris and London were major centers of chess activity. Play was largely limited to nobility early in the 1700s. Philidor of France was considered the best chess player in the world Phildor wrote out moves in his books, without using notation Phillip Stamma introduced Algebraic Notation in 1737, which is now standard © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 20
Chess in the (future) United States Benjamin Franklin ( ) was playing Chess by the 1730s, among the first Chess players in the American colonies known by name Franklin used Chess in his diplomatic efforts in England In 1786, Franklin published a famous essay The Morals of Chess about important educational benefits of Chess © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 21
Benjamin Franklin Playing Chess in England © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 22 Lady Howe Checkmates Benjamin Franklin, Painting by Edward Harrison May (circa 1865)
US Chess in the 1800s By mid-century, railroad and telegraph brought chess players together on a scale never seen before National gatherings began in the 1840s in the US (Kentucky) & England (Yorkshire) Formal championship titles began to emerge © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 23
Staunton Design © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 24 Chess sets of unusual design gave an advantage to the player who was used to it. The Staunton design introduced in 1849 by Jacques of London became the standard required for competitive Chess games.
Early Champions First US Championship match in 1845 won by Charles Stanley ( ) Paul Morphy ( ) of New Orleans won the American Chess Congress in 1857, and soundly defeated champions of the Old World in matches The first international chess tournament was held in London in 1851 © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 25
World Champions & 20 th Century A match in 1886 between Wilhelm Steinitz & Johann Zukertort established the world championship as a title to be won by regular formal matches Steinitz became a US citizen in 1888 Chess interest exploded in the 20 th century to almost every nation in the world. © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 26
Chess Organizations Federation Internationale des Esches (FIDE) was formed in 1924 US Chess Federation (USCF) was formed in USCF popularized the Swiss system tournament, which allows a large number of players to complete over a few days USCF played a major role in developing the chess rating system, which FIDE adopted © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 27
Soviet Chess Champions The USSR rose to prominence as the leading chess-playing nation, as a result of major government support Soviet or Russian players were the World Champions from 1948 to 1972, and 1975 to 2000 –Mikhail Botvinnik, Vasily Smyslov, Mikhail Tal, Tigran Petrosian, Boris Spassky, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 28
Bobby Fischer ( ) Born in Chicago, learned Chess after moving to Brooklyn as a small child US Chess Champion at age 14, and won all 8 US championships he played in Perfect 11-0 score at 1964 US Championship Won two qualifying matches with perfect 6-0 Overwhelmingly defeated two past world champions to become World Champion in 1972 © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 29
Photos – Bobby Fischer © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 30 Fischer vs. Michael Tal, 1965 (age 17)Fischer in Iceland, 1972
Requirements 1. Discuss with your merit badge counselor the history of the game of chess. Explain why it is considered a game of planning and strategy. © 2011Chess Merit BadgePage 31
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