History of Chess

One of the game's popular misconceptions is that chess is several thousand years old, but the first documented evidence is around 550-600 A.D. in Indian and Persian sources. The game is now believed to have been invented in northern India sometime during the sixth century A.D. Most authorities believe that chess is a descendant of chaturanga, a game that had been around in India since 450 A.D., if even that early. Some games older than chaturanga shared some characteristics with chess, but only chaturanga shared all five of these:
   
1.played on 8x8 board, usually with alternating white and black squares.
2.used units of different colors, powers, shapes, and sizes.
3.units could capture each other, instead of merely displacing one another.
4.game was over when a particular unit was captured and/or rendered immobile. 5.didn't necessarily need tossing of dice (could be played with, or without).
   
From India, through international trade and wars, chess slowly became popular throughout the world. It's popularity grew along two main lines; eastward to China, where it became known as xiangqi (hsiang ch'i), or chinese chess, and westward, where it spread to Persia in the sixth century. The word "chess" itself comes from the Persian word "Shah", or king. "Checkmate" comes from "shah mat", meaning "the king is dead." Later that century, the Arabs learned the game in Persia, and around 780 A.D., during the Moorish invasion of Spain, they introduced Europe to the game. Now, at this time, the rules were somewhat different. The king, rook, and knight moved exactly the same as today, as did the pawns, with the exception that on their first move they could only move one square at a time. The bishop moved diagonally like today, but only two squares at a time, and it could jump pieces. The queen was much weaker, only being allowed to move diagonally one square at a time. Checkmate and stalemate were the same, but there was also a "Baremate", which occurred if a king was left with no pieces.

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