The next time you play chess, just stop for a minute and think about where the game came from? Who created the game? Who formed the rules? How did they come with such a concept? Chess has been played in India from as early as the 6th century. Across generations and across countries, chess till today is regarded as one of the highly intellect games. It is a game of strategy and intense thinking.
The origin and history of chess till today is debatable. Origin of chess has been debated as some say that it is from India while others debate that it is from Persian origin. There are traces of Chess being used in India during the 6th century B.C. It was introduced during Gupta Empire and known as “Chaturanga” (Four Divisions of the military: infantry, cavalry, elephantry and chariotry). The pawns in the chess represented either of the divisions. The chess board is very similar to battlefield, the goal of a pawn is to protect the king and the cavalry. The expression “sheh mat!” meaning checkmate is a Persian word. These exclamations persisted as it traveled across lands. The pawns in the chess board represent the Serfs. These are more in number and represent laborers who are expected to sacrifice to save the more valuable pieces in the game. In medieval period the life of serfs or laborers was barbaric. The home in chess is a castle piece which is available on both sides. The knight is the professional solider who has to protect the other ranks. Though the knight is important, there are more important pieces like the Bishop, King, Queen and etc. Each piece of the chess has significant importance like the above. After the conquest of Persia by Muslim world, chess also fled to the Islamic community. The divisions were:
The excavation of Indus valley civilization leaves traces of board games, especially chess in its wake. It was initially introduced as a dice game called “Asthapada” meaning eight feet (8x8 square board). This board was mainly used for playing Chaturanga. Also, in India there were other boards like Dasapada (10x10 boards) and Saturankam (9x9 board). Finally in the 13th century, the rules for the game Chess began to evolve. The rules allowed mobility of certain pieces which were almost immobile earlier like the Queen. This century was the turning point for Chess which is now viewed as a complex game and which required strategies to play.