Checkmate: 11 things you probably don’t know about chess

The 2015 Cotswold Chess Congress at The Kings School on Saturday.   Photo by Andrew Higgins 23-05-15

(Andrew Higgins)

A pawn, a knight and a dynamic Queen – you may think this is a scene from Game of Thrones.

But in fact it is a different game which also requires a certain amount of cunning and tactics – chess.

While nearly everyone has heard of the game chess – I would hazard a guess that most people have no idea how to play it properly.

And who can blame you. Commands like knight to rook four and Queen to bishop six may confuse a lot of people and yet it is still one of the world’s oldest and most popular games.

Here are nine interesting facts you probably didn’t know about chess:

1.Chess was in fact invented in India. It is believed to originate out of India during the Gupta empire.

2.It is called the game of kings, because for many centuries it was played primarily by nobility and the upper classes.

3.The longest official chess game ever was I.Nikolic V Arsovic, in Belgrade 1989, which ended in a draw after 269 moves (20 hours, 15 minutes).

4.The folding chess board was originally invented in 1125 by a chess-playing priest. Since the Church forbid priests to play chess, he hid his chess board by making one that looked simply like two books lying together.

5.The second book ever printed in the English language was in fact about chess!

6.Initially, the Queen could only move one square at a time, diagonally. Later, she could move two squares at a time, diagonally. It wasn’t until Reconquista Spain, with its powerful queen Isabella, that the Queen became the strongest piece on the board.

7.Blindfold chess is an impressive skill requiring a keen ability to see the board clearly in mind which can get difficult after many moves.

8.The word “Checkmate” in Chess comes from the Persian phrase “Shah Mat,” which means”the King is dead.”

9. There are many places in the world where chess is played outdoors but one of the coolest has to be the thermal baths in Budapest where you can play while sitting in the water.

But secretly don’t we all wish we could play wizard’s chess.

CitizenNews  |


About Tsogo Sun Moves for Life

Education through Chess. A proven intervention to unlock the potential of SA's children. Moves for Life unlocks the cognitive potential of South African children by structured implementation of chess education where essential aspects of the game are actively linked with math, science and lifeskill concepts. Learning fundamental concepts are made fun and exciting for the child.
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