How did chess originate?

How did chess originate?
Highlights

Chess is called \"the royal game\" because it is considered the king of games. It is probably the oldest game known, some people claiming that it is 5,000 years old.

Chess is called "the royal game" because it is considered the king of games. It is probably the oldest game known, some people claiming that it is 5,000 years old! The name chess is derived from the Persian word shah, meaning "king". And the word "check-mate" is derived from Persian shahmat, meaning "the king is dead". But, who originated chess?

The origin of chess has been attributed to the Greeks, Romans, Babylonians, Jews, Egyptians, Chinese, Persians, Hindus, Arabians etc., at one time or another. Some people believe that it originated amongst Buddhists in India. They invented chess as a substitute of war because killing of one’s fellow is forbidden in their religion. Most authorities now believe that chess probably did originate in India, spread to Persia, Arabia, and then to Western Europe.

In the game of chess, individual pieces have undergone many changes with time. The king at one time could be captured which is impossible in chess as we now play it. "Castling" was introduced to chess about 400 years ago.

At one time, the queen was called by a name that meant "minister" or "general"! Nowadays, queen is considered the most powerful piece. But, in ancient times the queen moved only one square diagonally and thus was the weakest piece on the board! It attained present power about 500 years ago. The rooks and knights have remained unchanged till now. The rook gets its name from the Indian word "rukh" and the Persian name "rokh", meaning "a soldier". I Chess is now a very popular game and the international tournaments are held regularly year after year.

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