Chess before the Queen's Gambit, where did it all begin?

The Real Queen’s Gambit

The real Queen’s Gambit is a wonderfully written fictional story based on a novel written in 1983 by Walter Tevis.

While the Netflix version does not exactly stick to the book, the characters share many similarities.

But what about Chess? When did it all begin?

Chess has been around for a very long time. Its roots can be traced back to nearly 1500 years ago. 

The first records of an early version of chess began in India. 

The beginnings of Chess in India

Before the 6th century, A.D. chess was called chaturaṅga. 

This form of chess translated as four military divisions: Infantry (became pawn), cavalry (became knight), elephantry (became bishop), and chariotry (became rook).

It is said that the Indian use of chess was used as a tool for military strategy, mathematics, gambling, and even possibly astronomy. 

Fun fact

Did you know that chess is great for mental health as well as to slow down the brain aging process? You can Keep your mind healthy by purchasing your own chess board.

From India to Persia

Chess was introduced to Persia and was quickly picked up by the Persian Nobility. The name evolved from chaturaṅga into shatranj and some rules got slightly modified. The Persians are the ones who added the calling out of“check" and “checkmate ”. In Persia, those words were “Shāh Māt!”, Persian for “the king is helpless”. 

From Persia to the Muslim World

After the Islamic conquest of Persia, the game was taken up by the Muslim culture. In North Africa, the term shatranj became shaterej. 

The appearance of the chess pieces was altered at this time to depict animals or abstract shapes. This is because the Muslims banned the game’s lifelike pieces. As Islam forbids the depiction of human beings and animals in art, the pieces were usually simple abstract shapes made of carved stone and clay. 

Muslims brought chess to Iberia, North Africa, and Sicily in the 10th century. 

From then on, chess was brought to Europe and then introduced to the rest of the world.

By the 15th century, the game was further developed in Europe. It has survived Christian religious sanctions and began taking shape into the game that we know today. 

In the 19th century, modern chess tournaments began to take hold and were followed by the first official chess championship in 1886. 

Nowadays, Chess boards have taken on many different artistic forms. From creative, to cute, to grand and medieval styles, there is something for everyone.

The powerful lady-pharaoh that ruled over ancient Egypt.

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