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A History of Chess

Updated on February 23, 2014

Mysterious Origins of Chess

The origins of the game chess are still shrouded in partial mystery. One of the better known theories is that it came from northern India. This was espoused by Harold Murray in his seminal 900 page book The History of Chess, which he published in 1913. Murray spent fourteen years researching his material. He said that the first mention of chess was in 600 A.D. in India. Some researchers say it made it to Persia about 700 A.D. There were four western writers before Murray that wrote about chess.

Where Did Chess Originate?

In The Origin of Chess Sam Sloane a chess player and chess journalist covers the theory that it came from China. Some think it came from Afghanistan. There have been many versions or forerunners and some of these are still played in Japan (Shogi) and elsewhere. A form of chess called Xiangqi is said to have been played in China in the 2nd century B.C. And some believe it is the forerunner of the modern game, which is the theory that the scholar Joseph Needham liked. The Vikings played a board game called Hnefatafl; in English it means Kings Table. It was around since about 400 A.D., but there is no evidence to support that it had anything to do with the games we know as chess. It does have some similarities.

Chess in Travel

A form trekked from Persia to Spain and Italy through commerce about 1000 A.D.The form of chess we have today in the western world started in southern Europe during the 15c.

A surprise in the history of European chess turned up in 2002. A chess piece that dates to 465 A.D. was discovered by British archaeologists at a dig in southern Albania; they were excavating a Byzantine palace. This piece is five-hundred years older than chessmen found before on European soil.

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    • Deltachord profile image

      Deltachord 9 years ago from United States

      Thanks for you input.

    • FunFacter profile image

      FunFacter 9 years ago from Canada

      I think chess comes from India. I know they have said italy many times. But I remember did a research and they found out the history started from india.