Chess is one of the oldest games, dating from about the 6th century in India.

It was known as chaturanga – meaning four divisions- infantry, cavalry, elephantry and chariotry.

These pieces eventually became the pawn, knight, bishop and rook.

From Persia it spread across the Islamic world, and eventually to Western Europe and Russia.

The game is described in a famous 13th century manuscript from Spain called Libro de los Juegos – Book of Games.

Chess was popular in the 1800’s when it began to become more organized…

1802 – Earliest known American chess book, Chess Made Easy by J. Humphreys is published.

1830 – Earliest recorded instance of a modern female chess player.

Chess problems were a regular part of the newspapers

1849 – The Staunton Chess Set was created

1851 – First international tournament was held in London. It was won by a German player.

At the tournament concerns arose regarding the length of time to make a move – one player deliberated his move for 2 hours and 20 minutes!

1852 –Sandglasses were first used to time a game

1857 – First American Chess Congress was won by 20-year-old Paul Morphy from the USA, which created a chess epidemic across the country.

Go to Journal
Go to Pastimes