This is the story of Chess, read to find out how this game conquered the world.

Chess is a simple game. Two players, thirty-two pieces, sixty-four boxes to move. And yet it has more possible moves than there are stars in the entire universe. To put things into perspective, there are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on this earth. Still, it’s a simple game. A twelve-year-old Indian-American Abhimanyu recently became the youngest grandmaster of chess.

The game of chess started in India. It became popular under the reign of Samudragupta in the 6th century. Samudragupta was a tactical genius. He is also known as the Napolean of India as he never lost any of his battles. It was his love for military tactics that made the game of Chess his favourite pastime activity. He would play this game with his ministers. Back then the game was known as Chaturanga. Chatur means four and Anga means divisions. Each player had four divisions to play with including infantry, cavalry, elephantry, and charioteering. 

Three centuries later, Arabic and Turkic travellers started visiting India. With them, they took more than just spices and cotton. They took with them the game of Chaturanga. It was here where the famous term Shah-Maat was first coined. ‘Shah Maat’ meant defeating the king. The Islamic kingdoms of the middle east had dorses instead of Chariots because of the sandy terrains. Hence they switched the chariot piece with the horse.

During the era of the Islamic conquest of the Indian subcontinent, chess became a commonality between cultures. The Muslim and Hindu kings throughout these years played chess with each other. Sometimes the game provided a chance for diplomatic talks and sometimes it also substituted real battles.
The game of ‘Chaturanga’ went to Europe in the 15th century as Spanish expansion in the middle east started. Here it got its modern name ‘Chess’.
In Europe, it was given a formal set of rules which would later become globally accepted. The Europeans, including the British, the French, and the Spanish made sure that Chess reached every part of the world through their colonization.

The only shortcoming of the game was the time it took to complete a game. There was no limitation on time to make a move. So many times players took long hours before playing the next move. Hence sometimes the game lasted for days. Time constraints were introduced in chess in 1883. Three years later, the world witnessed its first Chess championship.

Since its inaugural championship chess was dominated by first-world countries, mostly Russia. The game of chess made its comeback to India through a special gentleman named Vishwanath Anand. Anand became India’s first grandmaster in the year 1988. And in 2007, claimed the top position and became the world champion.

In its thousand-year journey, chess started in India, became a popular global sport, and is now making its comeback. Anand’s inspiring performance had created a wave of young chess players wanting to become the world’s number one. In them is a pawn waiting to become a king someday.

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