Chess

Chess

Overview
Chess is a two-player board game
Board game
A board game is a game which involves counters or pieces being moved on a pre-marked surface or "board", according to a set of rules. Games may be based on pure strategy, chance or a mixture of the two, and usually have a goal which a player aims to achieve...

 played on a chessboard
Chessboard
A chessboard is the type of checkerboard used in the board game chess, and consists of 64 squares arranged in two alternating colors...

, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs
Chess club
A chess club is a club formed for the purpose of playing the board game of chess. Chess clubs provide for both informal games and timed games, often as part of an internal competition or in a league.-Organisation:...

, online, by correspondence
Correspondence chess
Correspondence chess is chess played by various forms of long-distance correspondence, usually through a correspondence chess server, through email or by the postal system; less common methods which have been employed include fax and homing pigeon...

, and in tournaments.

Each player begins the game with sixteen pieces
Chess piece
Chess pieces or chessmen are the pieces deployed on a chessboard to play the game of chess. The pieces vary in abilities, giving them different values in the game...

: one king
King (chess)
In chess, the king is the most important piece. The object of the game is to trap the opponent's king so that its escape is not possible . If a player's king is threatened with capture, it is said to be in check, and the player must remove the threat of capture on the next move. If this cannot be...

, one queen
Queen (chess)
The queen is the most powerful piece in the game of chess, able to move any number of squares vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Each player starts the game with one queen, placed in the middle of the first rank next to the king. With the chessboard oriented correctly, the white queen starts...

, two rook
Rook (chess)
A rook is a piece in the strategy board game of chess. Formerly the piece was called the castle, tower, marquess, rector, and comes...

s, two knight
Knight (chess)
The knight is a piece in the game of chess, representing a knight . It is normally represented by a horse's head and neck. Each player starts with two knights, which begin on the row closest to the player, one square from the corner...

s, two bishop
Bishop (chess)
A bishop is a piece in the board game of chess. Each player begins the game with two bishops. One starts between the king's knight and the king, the other between the queen's knight and the queen...

s, and eight pawn
Pawn (chess)
The pawn is the most numerous and weakest piece in the game of chess, historically representing infantry, or more particularly armed peasants or pikemen. Each player begins the game with eight pawns, one on each square of the rank immediately in front of the other pieces...

s, each of these types of pieces moving differently.
Discussion
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Quotations

...for chess, that superb, cold, infinitely satisfying anodyne to life, I feel the ardor of a lover, the humility of a disciple. —Herbert Russell Wakefield|Herbert Russell Wakefield

Encyclopedia
Chess is a two-player board game
Board game
A board game is a game which involves counters or pieces being moved on a pre-marked surface or "board", according to a set of rules. Games may be based on pure strategy, chance or a mixture of the two, and usually have a goal which a player aims to achieve...

 played on a chessboard
Chessboard
A chessboard is the type of checkerboard used in the board game chess, and consists of 64 squares arranged in two alternating colors...

, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs
Chess club
A chess club is a club formed for the purpose of playing the board game of chess. Chess clubs provide for both informal games and timed games, often as part of an internal competition or in a league.-Organisation:...

, online, by correspondence
Correspondence chess
Correspondence chess is chess played by various forms of long-distance correspondence, usually through a correspondence chess server, through email or by the postal system; less common methods which have been employed include fax and homing pigeon...

, and in tournaments.

Each player begins the game with sixteen pieces
Chess piece
Chess pieces or chessmen are the pieces deployed on a chessboard to play the game of chess. The pieces vary in abilities, giving them different values in the game...

: one king
King (chess)
In chess, the king is the most important piece. The object of the game is to trap the opponent's king so that its escape is not possible . If a player's king is threatened with capture, it is said to be in check, and the player must remove the threat of capture on the next move. If this cannot be...

, one queen
Queen (chess)
The queen is the most powerful piece in the game of chess, able to move any number of squares vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Each player starts the game with one queen, placed in the middle of the first rank next to the king. With the chessboard oriented correctly, the white queen starts...

, two rook
Rook (chess)
A rook is a piece in the strategy board game of chess. Formerly the piece was called the castle, tower, marquess, rector, and comes...

s, two knight
Knight (chess)
The knight is a piece in the game of chess, representing a knight . It is normally represented by a horse's head and neck. Each player starts with two knights, which begin on the row closest to the player, one square from the corner...

s, two bishop
Bishop (chess)
A bishop is a piece in the board game of chess. Each player begins the game with two bishops. One starts between the king's knight and the king, the other between the queen's knight and the queen...

s, and eight pawn
Pawn (chess)
The pawn is the most numerous and weakest piece in the game of chess, historically representing infantry, or more particularly armed peasants or pikemen. Each player begins the game with eight pawns, one on each square of the rank immediately in front of the other pieces...

s, each of these types of pieces moving differently. Pieces are used to attack and capture the opponent's pieces. The object of the game is to checkmate
Checkmate
Checkmate is a situation in chess in which one player's king is threatened with capture and there is no way to meet that threat. Or, simply put, the king is under direct attack and cannot avoid being captured...

 the opponent's king by placing it under threat of capture ("check") which cannot be avoided. In addition to checkmate, the game can be won by the voluntary resignation of one's opponent, which may occur when too much material is lost, or if checkmate appears unavoidable. A game may result in a draw
Draw (chess)
In chess, a draw is when a game ends in a tie. It is one of the possible outcomes of a game, along with a win for White and a win for Black . Usually, in tournaments a draw is worth a half point to each player, while a win is worth one point to the victor and none to the loser.For the most part,...

 in several ways, and neither player wins. The course of the game is divided in three phases. The beginning of the game is called the opening
Chess opening
A chess opening is the group of initial moves of a chess game. Recognized sequences of opening moves are referred to as openings as initiated by White or defenses, as created in reply by Black. There are many dozens of different openings, and hundreds of named variants. The Oxford Companion to...

 (with the development of pieces). The opening yields to the phase called the middlegame. The last phase is the endgame, generally characterised by the disappearance of queens.

The first official World Chess Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz
Wilhelm Steinitz
Wilhelm Steinitz was an Austrian and then American chess player and the first undisputed world chess champion from 1886 to 1894. From the 1870s onwards, commentators have debated whether Steinitz was effectively the champion earlier...

, claimed his title in 1886; the current World Champion is Viswanathan Anand
Viswanathan Anand
V. Anand or Anand Viswanathan, usually referred as Viswanathan Anand, is an Indian chess Grandmaster, the current World Chess Champion, and currently second highest rated player in the world....

 from India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. In addition to the World Championship
World Chess Championship
The World Chess Championship is played to determine the World Champion in the board game chess. Men and women of any age are eligible to contest this title....

, there are the Women's World Championship
Women's World Chess Championship
The Women's World Chess Championship is played to determine the women's world champion in chess. Like the World Chess Championship, it is administered by FIDE....

, the Junior World Championship
World Junior Chess Championship
The World Junior Chess Championship is an under-20 chess tournament organized by the World Chess Federation ....

, the World Senior Championship
World Senior Chess Championship
The World Senior Chess Championship is an annual chess tournament established in 1991 by FIDE, the World Chess Federation.Participants must have reached 60 years old on 1 January of the year of the event...

, the Correspondence Chess World Championship, the World Computer Chess Championship
World Computer Chess Championship
World Computer Chess Championship is an annual event where computer chess engines compete against each other. The event is organized by the International Computer Games Association...

, and Blitz and Rapid World Championships. The Chess Olympiad
Chess Olympiad
The Chess Olympiad is a biennial chess tournament in which teams from all over the world compete against each other. The event is organised by FIDE, which selects the host nation.-Birth of the Olympiad:The first Olympiad was unofficial...

 is a popular competition among teams from different nations. Online chess has opened amateur and professional competition to a wide and varied group of players. Chess is a recognized sport of the International Olympic Committee
International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee is an international corporation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin on 23 June 1894 with Demetrios Vikelas as its first president...

, and international chess competition is sanctioned by the FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs or World Chess Federation). There are also many chess variants that have different rules, different pieces, and different boards.

Commencing in the second half of the 20th century computers have been programmed to play chess with increasing success to the point where home computers can play chess at a very high level. In the past two decades computer analysis has contributed significantly to chess theory as understood by human players, particularly in the endgame. The computer program Deep Blue was the first machine player to overcome a reigning World Chess Champion when it defeated
Deep Blue versus Garry Kasparov
Deep Blue versus Garry Kasparov was a pair of famous six-game human-computer chess matches played between the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue and the World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov. The first match was played in February 1996 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Kasparov won the match 4–2, losing one...

 Garry Kasparov
Garry Kasparov
Garry Kimovich Kasparov is a Russian chess grandmaster, a former World Chess Champion, writer, political activist, and one of the greatest chess players of all time....

 in 1997.

Rules



The official rules of chess are maintained by the World Chess Federation. Along with information on official chess tournament
Chess tournament
A chess tournament is a series of chess games played competitively to determine a winning individual or team. Since the first international chess tournament in London, 1851, chess tournaments have become the standard form of chess competition among serious players.Today, the most recognized chess...

s, the rules are described in the FIDE Handbook, Laws of Chess section.

Setup


Chess is played on a square board
Chessboard
A chessboard is the type of checkerboard used in the board game chess, and consists of 64 squares arranged in two alternating colors...

 of eight rows (called ranks and denoted with numbers 1 to 8) and eight columns (called files and denoted with letters a to h) of squares. The colors of the sixty-four squares alternate and are referred to as "light squares" and "dark squares". The chessboard is placed with a light square at the right-hand end of the rank nearest to each player, and the pieces are set out as shown in the diagram, with each queen
Queen (chess)
The queen is the most powerful piece in the game of chess, able to move any number of squares vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Each player starts the game with one queen, placed in the middle of the first rank next to the king. With the chessboard oriented correctly, the white queen starts...

 on its own color.

The pieces are divided, by convention, into white and black sets. The players are referred to as "White" and "Black"
White and Black in chess
In chess, the player who moves first is referred to as "White" and the player who moves second is referred to as "Black". Similarly, the pieces that each conducts are called, respectively, "the white pieces" and "the black pieces". The pieces are often not literally white and black, but some...

, and each begins the game with sixteen pieces
Chess piece
Chess pieces or chessmen are the pieces deployed on a chessboard to play the game of chess. The pieces vary in abilities, giving them different values in the game...

 of the specified color. These consist of one king
King (chess)
In chess, the king is the most important piece. The object of the game is to trap the opponent's king so that its escape is not possible . If a player's king is threatened with capture, it is said to be in check, and the player must remove the threat of capture on the next move. If this cannot be...

, one queen
Queen (chess)
The queen is the most powerful piece in the game of chess, able to move any number of squares vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Each player starts the game with one queen, placed in the middle of the first rank next to the king. With the chessboard oriented correctly, the white queen starts...

, two rooks
Rook (chess)
A rook is a piece in the strategy board game of chess. Formerly the piece was called the castle, tower, marquess, rector, and comes...

, two bishops
Bishop (chess)
A bishop is a piece in the board game of chess. Each player begins the game with two bishops. One starts between the king's knight and the king, the other between the queen's knight and the queen...

, two knights
Knight (chess)
The knight is a piece in the game of chess, representing a knight . It is normally represented by a horse's head and neck. Each player starts with two knights, which begin on the row closest to the player, one square from the corner...

, and eight pawns
Pawn (chess)
The pawn is the most numerous and weakest piece in the game of chess, historically representing infantry, or more particularly armed peasants or pikemen. Each player begins the game with eight pawns, one on each square of the rank immediately in front of the other pieces...

.

Movement


White always moves first. After the initial move, the players alternately move one piece at a time (with the exception of castling
Castling
Castling is a special move in the game of chess involving the king and either of the original rooks of the same color. It is the only move in chess in which a player moves two pieces at the same time. Castling consists of moving the king two squares towards a rook on the player's first rank, then...

, when two pieces are moved). Pieces are moved to either an unoccupied square or one occupied by an opponent's piece, which is captured and removed from play. With the sole exception of en passant
En passant
En passant is a move in the board game of chess . It is a special pawn capture which can occur immediately after a player moves a pawn two squares forward from its starting position, and an enemy pawn could have captured it had it moved only one square forward...

, all pieces capture opponent's pieces by moving to the square that the opponent's piece occupies. A player may not make any move that would put or leave his king under attack. If the player to move has no legal moves, the game is over; it is either a checkmate
Checkmate
Checkmate is a situation in chess in which one player's king is threatened with capture and there is no way to meet that threat. Or, simply put, the king is under direct attack and cannot avoid being captured...

—if the king is under attack—or a stalemate
Stalemate
Stalemate is a situation in chess where the player whose turn it is to move is not in check but has no legal moves. A stalemate ends the game in a draw. Stalemate is covered in the rules of chess....

—if the king is not.

Each chess piece
Chess piece
Chess pieces or chessmen are the pieces deployed on a chessboard to play the game of chess. The pieces vary in abilities, giving them different values in the game...

 has its own style of moving. In the diagrams, the dots mark the squares where the piece can move if no other pieces (including one's own piece) are on the squares between the piece's initial position and its destination.
  • The king
    King (chess)
    In chess, the king is the most important piece. The object of the game is to trap the opponent's king so that its escape is not possible . If a player's king is threatened with capture, it is said to be in check, and the player must remove the threat of capture on the next move. If this cannot be...

     moves one square in any direction. The king has also a special move which is called castling and involves also moving a rook.
  • The rook
    Rook (chess)
    A rook is a piece in the strategy board game of chess. Formerly the piece was called the castle, tower, marquess, rector, and comes...

     can move any number of squares along any rank or file, but may not leap over other pieces. Along with the king, the rook is involved during the king's castling move.
  • The bishop
    Bishop (chess)
    A bishop is a piece in the board game of chess. Each player begins the game with two bishops. One starts between the king's knight and the king, the other between the queen's knight and the queen...

     can move any number of squares diagonally, but may not leap over other pieces.
  • The queen
    Queen (chess)
    The queen is the most powerful piece in the game of chess, able to move any number of squares vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Each player starts the game with one queen, placed in the middle of the first rank next to the king. With the chessboard oriented correctly, the white queen starts...

     combines the power of the rook and bishop and can move any number of squares along rank, file, or diagonal, but it may not leap over other pieces.
  • The knight
    Knight (chess)
    The knight is a piece in the game of chess, representing a knight . It is normally represented by a horse's head and neck. Each player starts with two knights, which begin on the row closest to the player, one square from the corner...

     moves to any of the closest squares that are not on the same rank, file, or diagonal, thus the move forms an "L"-shape, two squares vertically and one square horizontally or two squares horizontally and one square vertically. The knight is the only piece that can leap over other pieces.
  • The pawn
    Pawn (chess)
    The pawn is the most numerous and weakest piece in the game of chess, historically representing infantry, or more particularly armed peasants or pikemen. Each player begins the game with eight pawns, one on each square of the rank immediately in front of the other pieces...

     may move forward to the unoccupied square immediately in front of it on the same file; or on its first move it may advance two squares along the same file provided both squares are unoccupied; or it may move to a square occupied by an opponent's piece which is diagonally in front of it on an adjacent file, capturing that piece. The pawn has two special moves: the en passant capture and pawn promotion.


* Pawns can optionally move two squares forward instead of one on their first move only. They capture diagonally (black x's); they cannot capture with their normal move (black circles). Pawns are also involved in the special move called en passant.

Castling


Once in every game, each king is allowed to make a special move, known as castling
Castling
Castling is a special move in the game of chess involving the king and either of the original rooks of the same color. It is the only move in chess in which a player moves two pieces at the same time. Castling consists of moving the king two squares towards a rook on the player's first rank, then...

. Castling consists of moving the king two squares along the first rank toward a rook (which is on the player's first rank) and then placing the rook on the last square the king has just crossed. Castling is permissible only if all of the following conditions hold:
  • Neither of the pieces involved in castling may have been previously moved during the game.
  • There must be no pieces between the king and the rook.
  • The king may not currently be in check, nor may the king pass through squares that are under attack by enemy pieces, nor move to a square where it is in check.

En passant


When a pawn advances two squares and there is an opponent's pawn on an adjacent file next to its destination square, then the opponent's pawn can capture it en passant (in passing), and move to the square the pawn passed over. However, this can only be done on the very next move, or the right to do so is lost. For example, if the black pawn has just advanced two squares from g7 to g5, then the white pawn on f5 can take it via en passant on g6 (but only on white's next move).

Promotion


When a pawn advances to the eighth rank, as a part of the move it is promoted and must be exchanged for the player's choice of queen, rook, bishop, or knight of the same color. Usually, the pawn is chosen to be promoted to a queen, but in some cases another piece is chosen; this is called underpromotion. In the diagram on the right, the pawn on c7 can be advanced to the eighth rank and be promoted to an allowed piece. There is no restriction placed on the piece that is chosen on promotion, so it is possible to have more pieces of the same type than at the start of the game (for example, two queens).

Check


When a king is under immediate attack by one or two of the opponent's pieces, it is said to be in check. A response to a check is a legal move if it results in a position where the king is no longer under direct attack (that is, not in check). This can involve capturing the checking piece; interposing a piece between the checking piece and the king (which is possible only if the attacking piece is a queen, rook, or bishop and there is a square between it and the king); or moving the king to a square where it is not under attack. Castling is not a permissible response to a check. The object of the game is to checkmate the opponent; this occurs when the opponent's king is in check, and there is no legal way to remove it from attack. It is illegal for a player to make a move that would put or leave his own king in check.

End of the game




Although the objective of the game is to checkmate the opponent, chess games do not have to end in checkmate — either player may resign which is a win for the other player. It is considered bad etiquette to continue playing when in a truly hopeless position. If it is a game with time control
Time control
A time control is a mechanism in the tournament play of almost all two-player board games so that each round of the match can finish in a timely way and the tournament can proceed. Time controls are typically enforced by means of a game clock...

, a player may run out of time and lose, even with a much superior position. Games also may end in a draw
Draw (chess)
In chess, a draw is when a game ends in a tie. It is one of the possible outcomes of a game, along with a win for White and a win for Black . Usually, in tournaments a draw is worth a half point to each player, while a win is worth one point to the victor and none to the loser.For the most part,...

 (tie). A draw can occur in several situations, including draw by agreement
Draw by agreement
In chess, a draw by agreement is the outcome of a game due to the agreement of both players to a draw. A player may offer a draw to his opponent at any stage of a game; if the opponent accepts, the game is a draw. The relevant portion of the FIDE laws of chess is article 9.1...

, stalemate
Stalemate
Stalemate is a situation in chess where the player whose turn it is to move is not in check but has no legal moves. A stalemate ends the game in a draw. Stalemate is covered in the rules of chess....

, threefold repetition
Threefold repetition
In chess and some other abstract strategy games, the threefold repetition rule states that a player can claim a draw if the same position occurs three times, or will occur after their next move, with the same player to move. The repeated positions need not occur in succession...

 of a position, the fifty-move rule, or a draw by impossibility of checkmate (usually because of insufficient material to checkmate). As checkmate from some positions cannot be forced in fewer than 50 moves (such as in the pawnless chess endgame and two knights endgame), the fifty-move rule is not applied everywhere, particularly in correspondence chess.

Time control


Besides casual games without any time restriction, chess is also played with a time control
Time control
A time control is a mechanism in the tournament play of almost all two-player board games so that each round of the match can finish in a timely way and the tournament can proceed. Time controls are typically enforced by means of a game clock...

, mostly by club and professional players. If a player's time runs out before the game is completed, the game is automatically lost (provided his opponent has enough pieces left to deliver checkmate). The duration of a game ranges from long games played up to seven hours to shorter rapid chess games, usually lasting 30 minutes or one hour per game. Even shorter is blitz chess
Blitz chess
Fast chess, also known as blitz chess, lightning chess, sudden death, speed chess, bullet chess and rapid chess, is a type of chess game in which each side is given less time to make their moves than under the normal tournament time controls of 60 to 180 minutes per player.-Overview:The different...

, with a time control of three to fifteen minutes for each player, and bullet chess (under three minutes). In tournament play, time is controlled using a game clock
Game clock
A game clock consists of two adjacent clocks and buttons to stop one clock while starting the other, such that the two component clocks never run simultaneously. Game clocks are used in two-player games where the players move in turn...

 that has two displays, one for each player's remaining time.

Notation for recording moves


Chess games and positions are recorded using a special notation, most often algebraic chess notation
Algebraic chess notation
Algebraic notation is a method for recording and describing the moves in a game of chess. It is now standard among all chess organizations and most books, magazines, and newspapers...

. Abbreviated (or short) algebraic notation generally records moves in the format "abbreviation of the piece moved – file where it moved – rank where it moved." For example, Qg5 means "queen moves to the g-file and 5th rank (that is, to the square g5). If there are two pieces of the same type that can move to the same square, one more letter or number is added to indicate the file or rank from which the piece moved, e.g. Ngf3 means "knight from the g-file moves to the square f3". The letter P indicating a pawn is not used, so that e4 means "pawn moves to the square e4".

If the piece makes a capture, "x" is inserted before the destination square. Thus Bxf3 means "bishop captures on f3". When a pawn makes a capture, the file from which the pawn departed is used in place of a piece initial, and ranks may be omitted if unambiguous. For example, exd5 (pawn on the e-file captures the piece on d5) or exd (pawn on e-file captures something on the d-file).

If a pawn moves to its last rank, achieving promotion, the piece chosen is indicated after the move, for example e1Q or e1=Q. Castling is indicated by the special notations 0-0 for kingside castling and 0-0-0 for queenside castling. A move that places the opponent's king in check usually has the notation "+" added. Checkmate can be indicated by "#" (occasionally "++", although this is sometimes used for a double check
Double check
In chess, a double check is a check delivered by two pieces at the same time. In chess notation, it is often symbolized by "++".-Discussion:...

 instead). At the end of the game, "1–0" means "White won," "0–1" means "Black won," and "½–½" indicates a draw.

Chess moves can be annotated with punctuation marks and other symbols
Punctuation (chess)
When annotating chess games, commentators frequently use question marks and exclamation points to denote a move as bad or good. The symbols normally used are "??", "?", "?!", "!?", "!", and "!!". The corresponding symbol is juxtaposed in the text immediately after the move When annotating chess...

. For example "!" indicates a good move, "!!" an excellent move,
"?" a mistake, "??" a blunder, "!?" an interesting move that may not be best, or "?!" a dubious move, but not easily refuted.

For example, one variant of a simple trap known as the Scholar's mate
Scholar's mate
In chess, Scholar's Mate is the checkmate achieved by the moves 1. e4 e5 2. Qh5 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6? 4. Qxf7#. The moves might be played in a different order or in slight variation, but the basic idea is the same—the queen and bishop combine in a simple mating attack on f7 .Sometimes Scholar's Mate is...

, animated in the picture to the right, can be recorded:
  1. e4 e5
  2. Qh5?! Nc6
  3. Bc4 Nf6??
  4. Qxf7# 1–0

Strategy and tactics


Chess strategy consists of setting and achieving long-term goals during the game – for example, where to place different pieces – while tactics concentrate on immediate maneuver. These two parts of the chess-playing process cannot be completely separated, because strategic goals are mostly achieved by the means of tactics, while the tactical opportunities are based on the previous strategy of play. A game of chess is normally divided into three phases: opening
Chess opening
A chess opening is the group of initial moves of a chess game. Recognized sequences of opening moves are referred to as openings as initiated by White or defenses, as created in reply by Black. There are many dozens of different openings, and hundreds of named variants. The Oxford Companion to...

, typically the first 10 moves, when players move their pieces to useful positions for the coming battle; then middlegame; and last the endgame, when most of the pieces are gone, kings typically take a more active part in the struggle, and pawn promotion is often decisive.

Fundamentals of tactics


In chess, tactics in general concentrate on short-term actions – so short-term that they can be calculated in advance by a human player or by a computer. The possible depth of calculation depends on the player's ability. In quiet positions with many possibilities on both sides, a deep calculation is more difficult and may not be practical, while in "tactical" positions with a limited number of forced variations where much less than the best move would lose quickly, strong players can calculate long sequences of moves.

Simple one-move or two-move tactical actions – threats, exchanges of material, and double attacks – can be combined into more complicated combinations
Combination (chess)
In chess, a combination is a sequence of moves, often initiated by a sacrifice, which leaves the opponent few options and results in tangible gain. At most points in a chess game, each player has several reasonable options from which to choose, which makes it difficult to plan ahead except in...

, sequences of tactical maneuvers that are often forced from the point of view of one or both players. Theoreticians described many elementary tactical methods and typical maneuvers; for example, pins
Pin (chess)
In chess, a pin is a situation brought on by an attacking piece in which a defending piece cannot move without exposing a more valuable defending piece on its other side to capture by the attacking piece...

, forks
Fork (chess)
In chess, a fork is a tactic that uses a single piece to attack multiple pieces at the same time. The attacker usually hopes to gain material by capturing one of the opponent's pieces. The defender often finds himself in a difficult position in which he cannot counter all threats. The attacking...

, skewers
Skewer (chess)
In chess, a skewer is an attack upon two pieces in a line and is similar to a pin. In fact, a skewer is sometimes described as a "reverse pin"; the difference is that in a skewer, the more valuable piece is in front of the piece of lesser or equal value...

, batteries
Battery (chess)
A battery in chess is a formation that consists of two or more pieces on the same rank, file, or diagonal. It is a tactic involved in planning a series of captures to remove the protection of the opponent's king, or to simply gain in the exchanges...

, discovered attack
Discovered attack
In chess, a discovered attack is an attack revealed when one piece moves out of the way of another. Discovered attacks can be extremely powerful, as the piece moved can make a threat independently of the piece it reveals. Like many chess tactics, they succeed because the opponent is unable to meet...

s (especially discovered checks), zwischenzug
Zwischenzug
The zwischenzug is a chess tactic in which a player, instead of playing the expected move first interpolates another move, posing an immediate threat that the opponent must answer, then plays the expected move...

s, deflections
Deflection (chess)
Deflection in chess is a tactic that forces an opposing piece to leave the square, rank or file it occupies, thus exposing the king or a valuable piece. It is typically used in the context of a combination or attack, where the deflected piece is critical to the defence...

, decoys
Decoy (chess)
In chess, decoying is the tactic of ensnaring a piece, usually the king or queen, by forcing it to move to a poisoned square with a sacrifice on that square....

, sacrifices
Sacrifice (chess)
In chess, a sacrifice is a move giving up a piece in the hopes of gaining tactical or positional compensation in other forms. A sacrifice could also be a deliberate exchange of a chess piece of higher value for an opponent's piece of lower value....

, underminings
Undermining (chess)
Undermining is a chess tactic in which a defensive piece is captured, leaving one of the opponent's pieces undefended or underdefended. The opponent has the unpalatable choice between recapturing or saving the underdefended piece...

, overloadings
Overloading (chess)
Overloading is a chess tactic in which a defensive piece is given an additional defensive assignment which it cannot complete without abandoning its original defensive assignment.-Example:...

, and interferences
Interference (chess)
Interference occurs when the line between an attacked piece and its defender is interrupted by sacrificially interposing a piece. It is a chess tactic which seldom arises, and is therefore often overlooked...

.

A forced variation that involves a sacrifice and usually results in a tangible gain is called a combination
Combination (chess)
In chess, a combination is a sequence of moves, often initiated by a sacrifice, which leaves the opponent few options and results in tangible gain. At most points in a chess game, each player has several reasonable options from which to choose, which makes it difficult to plan ahead except in...

. Brilliant combinations – such as those in the Immortal Game
Immortal game
The Immortal Game was a chess game played by Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky on 21 June 1851 in London, during a break of the first international tournament. The very bold sacrifices made by Anderssen to finally secure victory have made it one of the most famous chess games of all time...

 – are considered beautiful and are admired by chess lovers. A common type of chess exercise, aimed at developing players' skills, is showing players a position where a decisive combination is available and challenging them to find it.

Fundamentals of strategy


Chess strategy is concerned with evaluation of chess positions and with setting up goals and long-term plans for the future play. During the evaluation, players must take into account numerous factors such as the value of the pieces on the board, control of the center and centralization, the pawn structure
Pawn structure
In chess, the pawn structure is the configuration of pawns on the chessboard. Since pawns are the least mobile of the chess pieces, the pawn structure is relatively static and thus largely determines the strategic nature of the position.-General observations:Weaknesses in the pawn structure, such...

, king safety, and the control of key squares or groups of squares (for example, diagonals, open files, and dark or light squares).
An example of visualizing pawn structures

The most basic step in evaluating a position is to count the total value of pieces of both sides. The point values used for this purpose are based on experience; usually pawns are considered worth one point, knights and bishops about three points each, rooks about five points (the value difference between a rook and a bishop or knight being known as the exchange
The exchange (chess)
The exchange in chess refers to a situation in which one player loses a minor piece but captures the opponent's rook. The side which wins the rook is said to have won the exchange, while the other player has lost the exchange, since the rook is usually more valuable...

), and queens about nine points. The king is more valuable than all of the other pieces combined, since its checkmate loses the game. But in practical terms, in the endgame the king as a fighting piece is generally more powerful than a bishop or knight but less powerful than a rook. These basic values are then modified by other factors like position of the piece (for example, advanced pawns are usually more valuable than those on their initial squares), coordination between pieces (for example, a pair of bishops usually coordinate better than a bishop and a knight), or the type of position (knights are generally better in closed positions with many pawns while bishops are more powerful in open positions).

Another important factor in the evaluation of chess positions is the pawn structure (sometimes known as the pawn skeleton), or the configuration of pawns on the chessboard. Since pawns are the least mobile of the chess pieces, the pawn structure is relatively static and largely determines the strategic nature of the position. Weaknesses in the pawn structure, such as isolated
Isolated pawn
In chess, an isolated pawn is a pawn which has no friendly pawn on an adjacent file. An isolated queen's pawn is often called an isolani. Isolated pawns are usually a weakness because they cannot be protected by other pawns...

, doubled
Doubled pawns
In chess, doubled pawns are two pawns of the same color residing on the same file. Pawns can become doubled only when one pawn captures onto a file on which another friendly pawn resides. In the diagram, the pawns on the b-file and e-file are doubled...

, or backward pawn
Backward pawn
In chess, a backward pawn is a pawn that is behind the pawns of the same color on the adjacent files and that cannot be advanced without loss of material, usually the backward pawn itself....

s and holes, once created, are often permanent. Care must therefore be taken to avoid these weaknesses unless they are compensated by another valuable asset (for example, by the possibility of developing an attack).

Opening


A chess opening is the group of initial moves of a game (the "opening moves"). Recognized sequences of opening moves are referred to as openings and have been given names such as the Ruy Lopez
Ruy Lopez
The Ruy Lopez, also called the Spanish Opening or Spanish Game, is a chess opening characterised by the moves:-History:The opening is named after the 16th century Spanish priest Ruy López de Segura, who made a systematic study of this and other openings in the 150-page book on chess Libro del...

 or Sicilian Defence
Sicilian Defence
The Sicilian Defence is a chess opening that begins with the moves:The Sicilian is the most popular and best-scoring response to White's first move 1.e4...

. They are catalogued in reference works such as the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings
Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings
The Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings is a classification system for the opening moves in a game of chess. It is presented as a five volume book collection describing chess openings...

. There are dozens of different openings, varying widely in character from quiet positional play (for example, the Réti Opening
Réti Opening
The Réti Opening is a hypermodern chess opening whose traditional or classic method begins with the moves:White plans to bring the d5-pawn under attack from the flank, or entice it to advance to d4 and undermine it later...

) to very aggressive (the Latvian Gambit
Latvian Gambit
The Latvian Gambit is an aggressive but dubious chess opening, which often leads to wild and tricky positions. This opening is uncommon at the top level of over-the-board play, but some correspondence chess players are devoted to it...

). In some opening lines, the exact sequence considered best for both sides has been worked out to more than 30 moves. Professional players spend years studying openings and continue doing so throughout their careers, as opening theory continues to evolve.

The fundamental strategic aims of most openings are similar:
  • Development: This is the technique of placing the pieces (particularly bishops and knights) on useful squares where they will have an optimal impact on the game.
  • Control of the center: Control of the central squares allows pieces to be moved to any part of the board relatively easily, and can also have a cramping effect on the opponent.
  • King safety: It is critical to keep the king safe from dangerous possibilities. A correctly timed castling can often enhance this.
  • Pawn structure
    Pawn structure
    In chess, the pawn structure is the configuration of pawns on the chessboard. Since pawns are the least mobile of the chess pieces, the pawn structure is relatively static and thus largely determines the strategic nature of the position.-General observations:Weaknesses in the pawn structure, such...

    : Players strive to avoid the creation of pawn weaknesses such as isolated, doubled, or backward pawns, and pawn islands – and to force such weaknesses in the opponent's position.


Most players and theoreticians
Chess theory
The game of chess is commonly divided into three phases: the opening, middlegame, and endgame. As to each of these phases, especially the opening and endgame, there is a large body of theory as how the game should be played...

 consider that White, by virtue of the first move, begins the game with a small advantage
First-move advantage in chess
The first-move advantage in chess is the inherent advantage of the player who makes the first move in chess. Chess players and theorists generally agree that White begins the game with some advantage. Statistics compiled since 1851 support this view, showing that White consistently wins slightly...

. This initially gives White the initiative
Initiative (chess)
Initiative in a chess position belongs to the player who can make threats that cannot be ignored. He thus puts his opponent in the position of having to use his turns responding to threats rather than making his own. A player with the initiative will often seek to maneuver his pieces into more and...

. Black usually strives to neutralize White's advantage and achieve equality, or to develop dynamic counterplay in an unbalanced position.

Middlegame


The middlegame is the part of the game which starts after the opening. There is no clear line between the opening and the middlegame, but typically the middlegame will start when most pieces have been developed. (Similarly, there is no clear transition from the middlegame to the endgame; see start of the endgame.) Because the opening theory has ended, players have to form plans based on the features of the position, and at the same time take into account the tactical possibilities of the position. The middlegame is the phase in which most combinations
Combination (chess)
In chess, a combination is a sequence of moves, often initiated by a sacrifice, which leaves the opponent few options and results in tangible gain. At most points in a chess game, each player has several reasonable options from which to choose, which makes it difficult to plan ahead except in...

 occur. Combinations are a series of tactical moves executed to achieve some gain. Middlegame combinations are often connected with an attack against the opponent's king; some typical patterns have their own names; for example, the Boden's Mate
Boden's Mate
Boden's Mate is a checkmating pattern in chess characterized by bishops on two criss-crossing diagonals , with possible flight squares for the king being occupied by friendly pieces. Most often the checkmated king has castled queenside, and is mated on c8 or c1...

 or the Lasker–Bauer
Lasker - Bauer, Amsterdam, 1889
The chess game between Emanuel Lasker and Johann Bauer played in Amsterdam in 1889 is one of the most famous on account of Lasker's sacrifice of both bishops to eliminate the pawn cover around his opponent's king, winning material and the game....

 combination.

Specific plans or strategic themes will often arise from particular groups of openings which result in a specific type of pawn structure
Pawn structure
In chess, the pawn structure is the configuration of pawns on the chessboard. Since pawns are the least mobile of the chess pieces, the pawn structure is relatively static and thus largely determines the strategic nature of the position.-General observations:Weaknesses in the pawn structure, such...

. An example is the minority attack, which is the attack of queenside pawns against an opponent who has more pawns on the queenside. The study of openings is therefore connected to the preparation of plans that are typical of the resulting middlegames.

Another important strategic question in the middlegame is whether and how to reduce material and transition into an endgame (i.e. simplify). Minor material advantages can generally be transformed into victory only in an endgame, and therefore the stronger side must choose an appropriate way to achieve an ending. Not every reduction of material is good for this purpose; for example, if one side keeps a light-squared bishop and the opponent has a dark-squared one, the transformation into a bishops and pawns ending is usually advantageous for the weaker side only, because an endgame with bishops on opposite colors is likely to be a draw, even with an advantage of a pawn, or sometimes even with a two-pawn advantage.

Endgame


The endgame (or end game or ending) is the stage of the game when there are few pieces left on the board. There are three main strategic differences between earlier stages of the game and endgame:
  • During the endgame, pawns become more important; endgames often revolve around attempting to promote
    Promotion (chess)
    Promotion is a chess rule describing the transformation of a pawn that reaches its eighth rank into the player's choice of a queen, knight, rook, or bishop of the same color . The new piece replaces the pawn on the same square and is part of the move. Promotion is not limited to pieces that have...

     a pawn by advancing it to the eighth rank.
  • The king, which has to be protected in the middlegame owing to the threat of checkmate, becomes a strong piece in the endgame. It is often brought to the center of the board where it can protect its own pawns, attack the pawns of opposite color, and hinder movement of the opponent's king.
  • Zugzwang
    Zugzwang
    Zugzwang is a term usually used in chess which also applies to various other games. The term finds its formal definition in combinatorial game theory, and it describes a situation where one player is put at a disadvantage because he has to make a move when he would prefer to pass and make no move...

    , a disadvantage because the player has to make a move, is often a factor in endgames but rarely in other stages of the game. For example, the diagram on the right is zugzwang for both sides, as with Black to move he must play 1...Kb7 and let White promote a pawn after 2.Kd7; and with White to move he must allow a draw by 1.Kc6 stalemate or lose his last pawn by any other legal move.

Endgames can be classified according to the type of pieces that remain on board. Basic checkmates are positions in which one side has only a king and the other side has one or two pieces and can checkmate the opposing king, with the pieces working together with their king. For example, king and pawn endgames involve only kings and pawns on one or both sides and the task of the stronger side is to promote one of the pawns. Other more complicated endings are classified according to the pieces on board other than kings, such as the "rook and pawn versus rook endgame".

Predecessors




Chess is commonly believed to have originated in northwest India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 during the Gupta empire
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

, where its early form in the 6th century was known as caturaṅga
Chaturanga
Chaturanga is an ancient Indian game that is presumed to be the common ancestor of the games of chess, shogi, and makruk, and related to xiangqi and janggi.Chaturanga developed in Gupta India around the 6th century...

. The earliest evidence of chess is found in the neighboring Sassanid Persia around 600, where the game came to be known under the name chatrang. Chatrang is evoked inside three epic romances written in Pahlavi (Middle Persian
Middle Persian
Middle Persian , indigenously known as "Pârsig" sometimes referred to as Pahlavi or Pehlevi, is the Middle Iranian language/ethnolect of Southwestern Iran that during Sassanid times became a prestige dialect and so came to be spoken in other regions as well. Middle Persian is classified as a...

). Chatrang was taken up by the Muslim world
Muslim world
The term Muslim world has several meanings. In a religious sense, it refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Islam, referred to as Muslims. In a cultural sense, it refers to Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization...

 after the Islamic conquest of Persia
Islamic conquest of Persia
The Muslim conquest of Persia led to the end of the Sassanid Empire in 644, the fall of Sassanid dynasty in 651 and the eventual decline of the Zoroastrian religion in Persia...

 (633–644), where it was then named shatranj
Shatranj
Shatranj is an old form of chess, which came to the Western world from India. Modern chess has gradually developed from this game.-Etymology and origins:...

, with the pieces largely retaining their Persian names. In Spanish "shatranj" was rendered as ajedrez ("al-shatranj"), in Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 as xadrez, and in Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 as zatrikion (which comes directly from the Persian chatrang), but in the rest of Europe it was replaced by versions of the Persian shāh ("king"), which was familiar as an exclamation and became the English words "check" and "chess". Murray theorized that Muslim traders came to European seaports with ornamental chess kings as curios before they brought the game of chess.

The game reached Western Europe and Russia by at least three routes, the earliest being in the 9th century. By the year 1000 it had spread throughout Europe. Introduced into the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 by the Moors
Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

 in the 10th century, it was described in a famous 13th-century manuscript covering shatranj, backgammon
Backgammon
Backgammon is one of the oldest board games for two players. The playing pieces are moved according to the roll of dice, and players win by removing all of their pieces from the board. There are many variants of backgammon, most of which share common traits...

, and dice
Dice
A die is a small throwable object with multiple resting positions, used for generating random numbers...

 named the Libro de los juegos
Libro de los juegos
The Libro de los Juegos, , or Libro de acedrex, dados e tablas, was commissioned by Alfonso X of Castile, Galicia and León and completed in his scriptorium in Toledo in 1283, is an exemplary piece of Alfonso’s medieval literary legacy.Consisting of ninety-seven leaves of parchment, many with color...

. Another theory contends that chess arose from the game xiangqi
Xiangqi
Xiangqi is a two-player Chinese board game in the same family as Western chess, chaturanga, shogi, Indian chess and janggi. The present-day form of Xiangqi originated in China and is therefore commonly called Chinese chess in English. Xiangqi is one of the most popular board games in China...

 (Chinese Chess) or one of its predecessors, although this has been contested.

Origins of the modern game (1000–1850)



Around 1200, the rules of shatranj started to be modified in southern Europe, and around 1475, several major changes made the game essentially as it is known today. These modern rules for the basic moves had been adopted in Italy and Spain.
Pawns gained the option of advancing two squares on their first move, while bishops and queens acquired their modern abilities. The queen
Queen (chess)
The queen is the most powerful piece in the game of chess, able to move any number of squares vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Each player starts the game with one queen, placed in the middle of the first rank next to the king. With the chessboard oriented correctly, the white queen starts...

 replaced the earlier vizier chess piece towards the end of the 10th century and by the 15th century had become the most powerful piece; consequently modern chess was referred to as "Queen's Chess" or "Mad Queen Chess". These new rules quickly spread throughout western Europe. The rules about stalemate were finalized in the early 19th century. To distinguish it from its predecessors, this version of the rules is sometimes referred to as western chess or international chess.

Writings about the theory
Chess theory
The game of chess is commonly divided into three phases: the opening, middlegame, and endgame. As to each of these phases, especially the opening and endgame, there is a large body of theory as how the game should be played...

 of how to play chess began to appear in the 15th century. The Repetición de Amores y Arte de Ajedrez (Repetition of Love and the Art of Playing Chess) by Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

 churchman Luis Ramirez de Lucena was published in Salamanca
Salamanca
Salamanca is a city in western Spain, in the community of Castile and León. Because it is known for its beautiful buildings and urban environment, the Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. It is the most important university city in Spain and is known for its contributions to...

 in 1497. Lucena and later masters like Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 Pedro Damiano
Pedro Damiano
Pedro Damiano was a Portuguese chess player who lived from 1480 to 1544. A native of Odemira, he was a pharmacist by profession...

, Italians Giovanni Leonardo Di Bona
Giovanni Leonardo Di Bona
Giovanni Leonardo di Bona or Giovanni Leonardo da Cutri , known as Il Puttino was an early Italian chess master....

, Giulio Cesare Polerio and Gioachino Greco, and Spanish bishop Ruy López de Segura developed elements of opening
Chess opening
A chess opening is the group of initial moves of a chess game. Recognized sequences of opening moves are referred to as openings as initiated by White or defenses, as created in reply by Black. There are many dozens of different openings, and hundreds of named variants. The Oxford Companion to...

s and started to analyze simple endgames.


In the 18th century, the center of European chess life moved from the Southern European countries to France. The two most important French masters were François-André Danican Philidor
François-André Danican Philidor
François-André Danican Philidor , often referred to as André Danican Philidor during his lifetime, was a French composer and chess player. He contributed to the early development of the opéra comique...

, a musician by profession, who discovered the importance of pawns for chess strategy, and later Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais
Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais
Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais was a French chess master, possibly the strongest player in the early 19th century.- Early life :...

, who won a famous series of matches with the Irish
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

 master Alexander McDonnell
Alexander McDonnell
Alexander McDonnell was an Irish chess master, who contested a series of six matches with the world’s leading player Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais in the summer of 1834.- Early life :...

 in 1834. Centers of chess activity in this period were coffee houses in big European cities like Café de la Régence
Café de la Régence
The Café de la Régence in Paris was an important European centre of chess in the 18th and 19th centuries. All important chess masters of the time played there.The Café' masters include, but are not limited to:*   Paul Morphy...

in Paris and Simpson's Divan
Simpson's-in-the-Strand
Simpson's-in-the-Strand is one of London's oldest traditional English restaurants. Situated in the Strand, it is part of the Savoy Buildings, which also contain one of the world's most famous hotels, the Savoy....

in London.

As the 19th century progressed, chess organization developed quickly. Many chess club
Chess club
A chess club is a club formed for the purpose of playing the board game of chess. Chess clubs provide for both informal games and timed games, often as part of an internal competition or in a league.-Organisation:...

s, chess books, and chess journals appeared. There were correspondence matches between cities; for example, the London Chess Club played against the Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

 Chess Club in 1824. Chess problems became a regular part of 19th-century newspapers; Bernhard Horwitz
Bernhard Horwitz
Bernhard Horwitz was a German English chess master and chess writer.Horwitz was born in Neustrelitz, and went to school in Berlin, where he studied art. From 1837 to 1843, he was part of a group of German chess players known as "The Pleiades".He moved to London in 1845...

, Josef Kling
Josef Kling
Josef Kling was a German chess master and chess composer. In 1851 he wrote Chess Studies with Bernhard Horwitz.-External links:* at Chessgames.com...

, and Samuel Loyd composed some of the most influential problems. In 1843, von der Lasa
Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa
Tassilo, Baron von Heydebrand und der Lasa was an important German chess master, chess historian and theoretician of the nineteenth century, a member of the Berlin Chess Club and a founder of the Berlin Chess School .His...

 published his and Bilguer's
Paul Rudolf von Bilguer
Paul Rudolf von Bilguer was a German chess master and chess theoretician from Ludwigslust, Mecklenburg-Schwerin....

 Handbuch des Schachspiels
Handbuch des Schachspiels
Handbuch des Schachspiels is a chess book, first published in 1843 by Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa. It was one of the most important opening references for many decades...

(Handbook of Chess), the first comprehensive manual of chess theory.

Birth of a sport (1850–1945)



The first modern chess tournament was held in London in 1851
London 1851 chess tournament
right|thumb|[[Adolf Anderssen]] won both the London International Tournament and the rival London Club Tournament.London 1851 was the first international chess tournament. The tournament was conceived and organised by English player Howard Staunton, and marked the first time that the best chess...

 and was won by German Adolf Anderssen
Adolf Anderssen
Karl Ernst Adolf Anderssen was a German chess master. He is considered to have been the world's leading chess player in the 1850s and 1860s...

, relatively unknown at the time. Anderssen was hailed as the leading chess master and his brilliant, energetic attacking style became typical for the time, although it was later regarded as strategically shallow. Sparkling games like Anderssen's Immortal game
Immortal game
The Immortal Game was a chess game played by Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky on 21 June 1851 in London, during a break of the first international tournament. The very bold sacrifices made by Anderssen to finally secure victory have made it one of the most famous chess games of all time...

and Evergreen game
Evergreen game
The Evergreen game is a famous chess game played in Berlin in 1852 between Adolf Anderssen and Jean Dufresne.Adolf Anderssen was one of the strongest players of his time, and was considered by many to be the world champion after winning the London 1851 tournament. Jean Dufresne, a popular author of...

or Morphy's
Paul Morphy
Paul Charles Morphy was an American chess player. He is considered to have been the greatest chess master of his era and an unofficial World Chess Champion. He was a chess prodigy...

 Opera game
Opera game
The chess game played in 1858 at an opera house in Paris between the American chess master Paul Morphy and two strong amateurs, the German noble Duke Karl of Brunswick and the French aristocrat Count Isouard, is among the most famous chess games. Duke Karl and Count Isouard consulted together,...

were regarded as the highest possible summit of the chess art.

Deeper insight into the nature of chess came with two younger players. American Paul Morphy
Paul Morphy
Paul Charles Morphy was an American chess player. He is considered to have been the greatest chess master of his era and an unofficial World Chess Champion. He was a chess prodigy...

, an extraordinary chess prodigy
Chess prodigy
Chess prodigies are children who play chess so well that they are able to beat Masters and even Grandmasters, often at a very young age. Chess is one of the few sports where children can compete with adults on equal ground; it is thus one of the few skills in which true child prodigies exist...

, won against all important competitors (except Howard Staunton
Howard Staunton
Howard Staunton was an English chess master who is generally regarded as having been the world's strongest player from 1843 to 1851, largely as a result of his 1843 victory over Saint-Amant. He promoted a chess set of clearly distinguishable pieces of standardised shape—the Staunton pattern—that...

, who refused to play), including Anderssen, during his short chess career between 1857 and 1863. Morphy's success stemmed from a combination of brilliant attacks and sound strategy; he intuitively knew how to prepare attacks. Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

-born Wilhelm Steinitz
Wilhelm Steinitz
Wilhelm Steinitz was an Austrian and then American chess player and the first undisputed world chess champion from 1886 to 1894. From the 1870s onwards, commentators have debated whether Steinitz was effectively the champion earlier...

 later described how to avoid weaknesses in one's own position and how to create and exploit such weaknesses in the opponent's position. The scientific approach and positional understanding of Steinitz revolutionized the game. Steinitz was the first to break a position down into its components. Before Steinitz, players brought their queen out early, did not completely develop their other pieces, and mounted a quick attack on the opposing king, which either succeeded or failed. The level of defense was poor and players did not form any deep plan. In addition to his theoretical achievements, Steinitz founded an important tradition: his triumph over the leading German master Johannes Zukertort
Johannes Zukertort
Johannes Hermann Zukertort was a leading chess master of German-Polish-Jewish origin. He was one of the leading world players for most of the 1870s and 1880s, and lost to Wilhelm Steinitz in the World Chess Championship 1886, which is generally seen as the first World Chess Championship match, he...

 in 1886 is regarded as the first official World Chess Championship
World Chess Championship
The World Chess Championship is played to determine the World Champion in the board game chess. Men and women of any age are eligible to contest this title....

. Steinitz lost his crown in 1894 to a much younger player, the German mathematician Emanuel Lasker
Emanuel Lasker
Emanuel Lasker was a German chess player, mathematician, and philosopher who was World Chess Champion for 27 years...

, who maintained this title for 27 years, the longest tenure of all World Champions.

It took a prodigy from Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, José Raúl Capablanca
José Raúl Capablanca
José Raúl Capablanca y Graupera was a Cuban chess player who was world chess champion from 1921 to 1927. One of the greatest players of all time, he was renowned for his exceptional endgame skill and speed of play...

 (World Champion 1921–27), who loved simple positions and endgames, to end the German-speaking dominance in chess; he was undefeated in tournament play for eight years, until 1924. His successor was Russian-French Alexander Alekhine
Alexander Alekhine
Alexander Alexandrovich Alekhine was the fourth World Chess Champion. He is often considered one of the greatest chess players ever.By the age of twenty-two, he was already among the strongest chess players in the world. During the 1920s, he won most of the tournaments in which he played...

, a strong attacking player who died as the World champion in 1946. He briefly lost the title to Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

 player Max Euwe
Max Euwe
Machgielis Euwe was a Dutch chess Grandmaster, mathematician, and author. He was the fifth player to become World Chess Champion . Euwe also served as President of FIDE, the World Chess Federation, from 1970 to 1978.- Early years :Euwe was born in Watergraafsmeer, near Amsterdam...

 in 1935 and regained it two years later.

Between the world wars, chess was revolutionized by the new theoretical school of so-called hypermodernists
Hypermodernism (chess)
Hypermodernism is a school of chess that emerged after World War I. It featured challenges on the chess ideologies presented by central European masters, such as on Wilhelm Steinitz’ approach to the centre. It also challenged in particular the dogmatic rules set down by Siegbert Tarrasch...

 like Aron Nimzowitsch
Aron Nimzowitsch
Aron Nimzowitsch was a Russian-born Danish unofficial chess grandmaster and a very influential chess writer...

 and Richard Réti
Richard Réti
Réti composed one of the most famous chess studies, shown in this diagram. It was published in Ostrauer Morgenzeitung 4 December 1921. It seems impossible for the white king to catch the advanced black pawn, while the white pawn can be easily stopped by the black king...

. They advocated controlling the center of the board with distant pieces rather than with pawns, which invited opponents to occupy the center with pawns, which become objects of attack.

After the end of the 19th century, the number of master tournaments and matches held annually quickly grew. Some sources state that in 1914 the title of chess grandmaster
International Grandmaster
The title Grandmaster is awarded to strong chess players by the world chess organization FIDE. Apart from World Champion, Grandmaster is the highest title a chess player can attain....

 was first formally conferred by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia
Nicholas II of Russia
Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia, Grand Prince of Finland, and titular King of Poland. His official short title was Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias and he is known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church.Nicholas II ruled from 1894 until...

 to Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Tarrasch
Siegbert Tarrasch
Siegbert Tarrasch was one of the strongest chess players and most influential chess teachers of the late 19th century and early 20th century....

, and Marshall, but this is a disputed claim. The tradition of awarding such titles was continued by the World Chess Federation (FIDE), founded in 1924 in Paris. In 1927, the Women's World Chess Championship
Women's World Chess Championship
The Women's World Chess Championship is played to determine the women's world champion in chess. Like the World Chess Championship, it is administered by FIDE....

 was established; the first to hold the title was Czech
Czech people
Czechs, or Czech people are a western Slavic people of Central Europe, living predominantly in the Czech Republic. Small populations of Czechs also live in Slovakia, Austria, the United States, the United Kingdom, Chile, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Russia and other countries...

-English master Vera Menchik
Vera Menchik
Vera Menchik was a British-Czech chess player who gained renown as the world's first women's chess champion. She also competed in chess tournaments with some of the world's leading male chess masters, defeating many of them, including future World Champion Max Euwe.The daughter of a Czech father...

.

Post-war era (1945 and later)



After the death of Alekhine, a new World Champion was sought. FIDE, who have controlled the title since then (except for one interruption), ran a tournament of elite players. The winner of the 1948 tournament
World Chess Championship 1948
The 1948 World Chess Championship was a tournament played to determine a new World Chess Champion following the death of the previous champion Alexander Alekhine in 1946. The tournament marked the passing of control of the championship title to FIDE, the International Chess Federation which had...

, Russian Mikhail Botvinnik
Mikhail Botvinnik
Mikhail Moiseyevich Botvinnik, Ph.D. was a Soviet and Russian International Grandmaster and three-time World Chess Champion. Working as an electrical engineer and computer scientist at the same time, he was one of the very few famous chess players who achieved distinction in another career while...

, started an era of Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 dominance in the chess world. Until the end of the Soviet Union, there was only one non-Soviet champion, American Bobby Fischer
Bobby Fischer
Robert James "Bobby" Fischer was an American chess Grandmaster and the 11th World Chess Champion. He is widely considered one of the greatest chess players of all time. Fischer was also a best-selling chess author...

 (champion 1972–1975). Botvinnik revolutionized opening theory. Previously Black strove for equality, to neutralize White's first-move advantage
First-move advantage in chess
The first-move advantage in chess is the inherent advantage of the player who makes the first move in chess. Chess players and theorists generally agree that White begins the game with some advantage. Statistics compiled since 1851 support this view, showing that White consistently wins slightly...

. As Black, Botvinnik strove for the initiative from the beginning. In the previous informal system of World Championships, the current champion decided which challenger he would play for the title and the challenger was forced to seek sponsors for the match. FIDE set up a new system of qualifying tournaments and matches. The world's strongest players were seeded into Interzonal
Interzonal
Interzonal chess tournaments were tournaments organized by FIDE, the World Chess Federation, and were a stage in the triennial World Chess Championship cycle.- Zonal tournaments :...

 tournaments, where they were joined by players who had qualified from Zonal tournaments. The leading finishers in these Interzonals would go on the "Candidates
Candidates Tournament
The Candidates Tournament is a chess tournament organized by the world chess federation FIDE since 1950, as the final contest to determine the challenger for the World Chess Championship...

" stage, which was initially a tournament, and later a series of knock-out matches. The winner of the Candidates would then play the reigning champion for the title. A champion defeated in a match had a right to play a rematch a year later. This system operated on a three-year cycle. Botvinnik participated in championship matches over a period of fifteen years. He won the world championship tournament in 1948 and retained the title in tied matches in 1951 and 1954. In 1957, he lost to Vasily Smyslov
Vasily Smyslov
Vasily Vasilyevich Smyslov was a Soviet and Russian chess grandmaster, and was World Chess Champion from 1957 to 1958. He was a Candidate for the World Chess Championship on eight occasions . Smyslov was twice equal first at the Soviet Championship , and his total of 17 Chess Olympiad medals won...

, but regained the title in a rematch in 1958. In 1960, he lost the title to the 23-year-old Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

n prodigy Mikhail Tal
Mikhail Tal
Mikhail Tal was a Soviet–Latvian chess player, a Grandmaster, and the eighth World Chess Champion.Widely regarded as a creative genius, and the best attacking player of all time, he played a daring, combinatorial style. His play was known above all for improvisation and unpredictability....

, an accomplished tactician and attacking player. Botvinnik again regained the title in a rematch in 1961.

Following the 1961 event, FIDE abolished the automatic right of a deposed champion to a rematch, and the next champion, Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

n Tigran Petrosian
Tigran Petrosian
Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian was a Soviet-Armenian grandmaster, and World Chess Champion from 1963 to 1969. He was nicknamed "Iron Tigran" due to his playing style because of his almost impenetrable defence, which emphasised safety above all else...

, a genius of defense and a strong positional player, held the title for two cycles, 1963–1969. His successor, Boris Spassky
Boris Spassky
Boris Vasilievich Spassky is a Soviet-French chess grandmaster. He was the tenth World Chess Champion, holding the title from late 1969 to 1972...

 from Russia (champion 1969–1972), was able to win in both positional and sharp tactical style. The next championship, the so-called Match of the Century, saw the first non-Soviet challenger since World War II, American Bobby Fischer
Bobby Fischer
Robert James "Bobby" Fischer was an American chess Grandmaster and the 11th World Chess Champion. He is widely considered one of the greatest chess players of all time. Fischer was also a best-selling chess author...

, who defeated his Candidates opponents by unheard-of margins and clearly won the world championship match. In 1975, however, Fischer refused to defend his title against Soviet Anatoly Karpov
Anatoly Karpov
Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov is a Russian chess grandmaster and former World Champion. He was the official world champion from 1975 to 1985 when he was defeated by Garry Kasparov. He played three matches against Kasparov for the title from 1986 to 1990, before becoming FIDE World Champion once...

 when FIDE did not meet his demands, and Karpov obtained the title by default. Fischer modernized many aspects of chess, especially by extensively preparing openings.

Karpov defended his title twice against Viktor Korchnoi
Viktor Korchnoi
Viktor Lvovich Korchnoi ; pronounced in the original Russian as "karch NOY"; Ви́ктор Льво́вич Корчно́й, born March 23, 1931 is a professional chess player, author and currently the oldest active grandmaster on the tournament circuit...

 and dominated the 1970s and early 1980s with a string of tournament successes. Karpov's reign finally ended in 1985 at the hands of Garry Kasparov
Garry Kasparov
Garry Kimovich Kasparov is a Russian chess grandmaster, a former World Chess Champion, writer, political activist, and one of the greatest chess players of all time....

, another Soviet player from Baku
Baku
Baku , sometimes spelled as Baki or Bakou, is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. The city consists of two principal...

, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

. Kasparov and Karpov contested five world title matches between 1984 and 1990; Karpov never won his title back. In 1993, Garry Kasparov and Nigel Short
Nigel Short
Nigel David Short MBE is an English chess grandmaster earning the title at the age of 19. Short is often regarded as the strongest English player of the 20th century as he was ranked third in the world, from January 1988 – July 1989 and in 1993, he challenged Garry Kasparov for the World Chess...

 broke with FIDE to organize their own match for the title and formed a competing Professional Chess Association
Professional Chess Association
The Professional Chess Association , which existed between 1993 and 1996, was a rival organisation to FIDE, the international chess organization...

 (PCA). From then until 2006, there were two simultaneous World Champions and World Championships: the PCA or Classical champion extending the Steinitzian tradition in which the current champion plays a challenger in a series of many games, and the other following FIDE's new format of many players competing in a tournament to determine the champion. Kasparov lost his Classical title in 2000
Classical World Chess Championship 2000
The Classical World Chess Championship 2000, known at the time as the Braingames World Chess Championships, was held from October 8, 2000 – November 4, 2000 in London, United Kingdom. Garry Kasparov, the defending champion, played Vladimir Kramnik...

 to Vladimir Kramnik
Vladimir Kramnik
Vladimir Borisovich Kramnik is a Russian chess grandmaster. He was the Classical World Chess Champion from 2000 to 2006, and the undisputed World Chess Champion from 2006 to 2007...

 of Russia. The World Chess Championship 2006 reunified the titles. Kramnik beat the FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov
Veselin Topalov
Veselin Aleksandrov Topalov is a Bulgarian chess grandmaster. He currently has the sixth highest rating in the world, and was the challenger facing world champion Viswanathan Anand in the World Chess Championship 2010, losing the match 6½–5½....

 and became the undisputed World Chess Champion. In September 2007, he lost the title to Viswanathan Anand
Viswanathan Anand
V. Anand or Anand Viswanathan, usually referred as Viswanathan Anand, is an Indian chess Grandmaster, the current World Chess Champion, and currently second highest rated player in the world....

 of India, who won the championship tournament
World Chess Championship 2007
The World Chess Championship 2007 was held in Mexico City, from September 12, 2007 to September 30, 2007 to decide the world champion in the board game chess. It was an eight-player, double round robin tournament....

 in Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

. Anand defended his title in the revenge match of 2008
World Chess Championship 2008
The World Chess Championship 2008 was a best-of-twelve-games match between the World Chess Champion, Viswanathan Anand, and the previous World Champion, Vladimir Kramnik...

.

Place in culture


Pre-modern


In the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 and during the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

, chess was a part of noble
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

 culture; it was used to teach war strategy and was dubbed the "King's Game
Chess or the King's game
Chess or the King's Game is a book on chess. It was published in 1616 under the name of Gustavus Selenus, the pen name of Augustus the Younger, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg.This book is the earliest known to use Selenus-type chess pieces....

". Gentlemen are "to be meanly seene in the play at Chestes", says the overview at the beginning of Baldassare Castiglione
Baldassare Castiglione
Baldassare Castiglione, count of was an Italian courtier, diplomat, soldier and a prominent Renaissance author.-Biography:Castiglione was born into an illustrious Lombard family at Casatico, near Mantua, where his family had constructed an impressive palazzo...

's The Book of the Courtier
The Book of the Courtier
The Book of the Courtier is a courtesy book. It was written by Baldassare Castiglione over the course of many years, beginning in 1508, and published in 1528 by the Aldine Press just before his death...

(1528, English 1561 by Sir Thomas Hoby), but chess should not be a gentleman's main passion. Castiglione explains it further:

And what say you to the game at chestes?

It is truely an honest kynde of enterteynmente and wittie, quoth Syr Friderick. But me think it hath a fault, whiche is, that a man may be to couning at it, for who ever will be excellent in the playe of chestes, I beleave he must beestowe much tyme about it, and applie it with so much study, that a man may assoone learne some noble scyence, or compase any other matter of importaunce, and yet in the ende in beestowing all that laboure, he knoweth no more but a game. Therfore in this I beleave there happeneth a very rare thing, namely, that the meane is more commendable, then the excellency.


Many of the elaborate chess sets used by the aristocracy have been lost, but others partially survive, such as the Lewis chessmen
Lewis chessmen
The Lewis Chessmen are a group of 78 12th-century chess pieces, most of which are carved in walrus ivory...

.

Chess was often used as a basis of sermons on morality
Morality
Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...

. An example is Liber de moribus hominum et officiis nobilium sive super ludo scacchorum ('Book of the customs of men and the duties of nobles or the Book of Chess'), written by an Italian Dominican
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

 monk Jacobus de Cessolis
Jacobus de Cessolis
Jacobus de Cessolis was an Italian author of the most famous morality book on chess in the Middle Ages....

 c. 1300. This book was one of the most popular of the Middle Ages. The work was translated into many other languages (the first printed edition was published at Utrecht in 1473) and was the basis for William Caxton
William Caxton
William Caxton was an English merchant, diplomat, writer and printer. As far as is known, he was the first English person to work as a printer and the first to introduce a printing press into England...

's The Game and Playe of the Chesse (1474), one of the first books printed in English. Different chess pieces were used as metaphors for different classes of people, and human duties were derived from the rules of the game or from visual properties of the chess pieces:


The knyght ought to be made alle armed upon an hors in suche wyse that he haue an helme on his heed and a spere in his ryght hande/ and coueryd wyth his sheld/ a swerde and a mace on his lyft syde/ Cladd wyth an hawberk and plates to fore his breste/ legge harnoys on his legges/ Spores on his heelis on his handes his gauntelettes/ his hors well broken and taught and apte to bataylle and couerid with his armes/ whan the knyghtes ben maad they ben bayned or bathed/ that is the signe that they shold lede a newe lyf and newe maners/ also they wake alle the nyght in prayers and orysons vnto god that he wylle gyue hem grace that they may gete that thynge that they may not gete by nature/ The kynge or prynce gyrdeth a boute them a swerde in signe/ that they shold abyde and kepe hym of whom they take theyr dispenses and dignyte.


Known in the circles of clerics, students, and merchants, chess entered into the popular culture of Middle Ages. An example is the 209th song of Carmina Burana
Carmina Burana
Carmina Burana , Latin for "Songs from Beuern" , is the name given to a manuscript of 254 poems and dramatic texts mostly from the 11th or 12th century, although some are from the 13th century. The pieces were written principally in Medieval Latin; a few in Middle High German, and some with traces...

 from the 13th century, which starts with the names of chess pieces, Roch, pedites, regina...

Modern


During the Age of Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

, chess was viewed as a means of self-improvement. Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat...

, in his article "The Morals of Chess" (1750), wrote:


"The Game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement; several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions; for life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events, that are, in some degree, the effect of prudence, or the want of it. By playing at Chess then, we may learn:

I. Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and considers the consequences that may attend an action [...]

II. Circumspection, which surveys the whole Chess-board, or scene of action: – the relation of the several Pieces, and their situations [...]

III. Caution, not to make our moves too hastily [...]"



With these or similar hopes, chess is taught to children in schools around the world today. Many schools host chess clubs, and there are many scholastic tournaments specifically for children. Tournaments are held regularly in many countries, hosted by organizations such as the United States Chess Federation
United States Chess Federation
The United States Chess Federation is a non-profit organization, the governing chess organization within the United States, and one of the federations of the FIDE. The USCF was founded in 1939 from the merger of two regional chess organizations, and grew gradually until 1972, when membership...

 and the National Scholastic Chess Foundation.

Chess is often depicted in the arts
ARts
aRts, which stands for analog Real time synthesizer, is an audio framework that is no longer under development. It is best known for previously being used in KDE to simulate an analog synthesizer....

; significant works where chess plays a key role range from Thomas Middleton's A Game at Chess
A Game at Chess
A Game at Chess is a comic satirical play by Thomas Middleton, first staged in August 1624 by the King's Men at the Globe Theatre, notable for its political content.-The play:...

to Through the Looking-Glass
Through the Looking-Glass
Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There is a work of literature by Lewis Carroll . It is the sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland...

by Lewis Carroll to The Royal Game
The Royal Game
The Royal Game is a novella by Austrian author Stefan Zweig first published in 1942, after the author's death by suicide...

by Stefan Zweig and Vladimir Nabokov's The Defense
The Defense
The Defense is a Russian novel written by Vladimir Nabokov during his emigration in Berlin and published in 1930.-Plot summary:The plot concerns the title character, Aleksandr Ivanovich Luzhin. As a boy, he is considered unattractive, withdrawn, and an object of ridicule by his classmates...

. The thriller film Knight Moves
Knight Moves
Knight Moves is a 1992 American thriller film, directed by Carl Schenkel and written by Brad Mirman, about a chess grandmaster who is accused of several grisly murders.-Synopsis:...

is about a chess grandmaster who is accused of being a serial killer
Serial killer
A serial killer, as typically defined, is an individual who has murdered three or more people over a period of more than a month, with down time between the murders, and whose motivation for killing is usually based on psychological gratification...

. Chess is featured in films like Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal
The Seventh Seal
The Seventh Seal is a 1957 Swedish film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. Set during the Black Death, it tells of the journey of a medieval knight and a game of chess he plays with the personification of Death , who has come to take his life. Bergman developed the film from his own play...

and Satyajit Ray's The Chess Players.

In the video game Killer 7, the protagonist and the antagonist frequently play chess together; in the survival horror game Deadly Premonition, chess is the theme of a puzzle.

Chess is also present in the contemporary popular culture. For example, J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter
Harry Potter
Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...

 plays "Wizard's Chess", while the characters of Star Trek
Star Trek
Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment franchise created by Gene Roddenberry. The core of Star Trek is its six television series: The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise...

prefer "Tri-Dimensional Chess". The hero of Searching for Bobby Fischer
Searching for Bobby Fischer
Searching for Bobby Fischer is a 1993 film based on the life of prodigy chess player Joshua Waitzkin, played by Max Pomeranc. Adapted from the book of the same name by Joshua's father Fred, the film was written and directed by Steven Zaillian...

struggles against adopting the aggressive
Aggressive
“Aggressive” is a New York-based Grammy award-winning music video and commercial directing team of Alex Topaller and Daniel Shapiro.Aggressive has been described by Movie Creation Mag as “having a fascination with the wonderful, in the likes of the surrealist Rafal Olbinski” and “tenacious about...

 and misanthropic views of a real chess grandmaster. Chess has been used as the core theme of a musical
Musical theatre
Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance. The emotional content of the piece – humor, pathos, love, anger – as well as the story itself, is communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an...

, Chess
Chess (musical)
Chess is a musical with music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, formerly of ABBA, and with lyrics by Tim Rice. The story involves a romantic triangle between two top players, an American and a Russian, in a world chess championship, and a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other;...

, by Tim Rice
Tim Rice
Sir Timothy Miles Bindon "Tim" Rice is an British lyricist and author.An Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Tony Award and Grammy Award-winning lyricist, Rice is best known for his collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber, with whom he wrote Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus...

, Björn Ulvaeus
Björn Ulvaeus
Björn Kristian Ulvaeus is a Swedish songwriter, composer, musician, writer, producer, a former member of the Swedish musical group ABBA , and co-composer of the musicals Chess, Kristina från Duvemåla, and Mamma Mia!...

, and Benny Andersson
Benny Andersson
Göran Bror "Benny" Andersson is a Swedish musician, composer, a former member of the Swedish musical group ABBA , and co-composer of the musicals Chess, Kristina från Duvemåla, and Mamma Mia!...

.

Approximately 600 million people worldwide know how to play chess.

Composition


Chess composition is the art of creating chess problems (the problems themselves are sometimes also called chess compositions). A person who creates such problems is known as a chess composer
Chess composer
A chess composer is a person who creates endgame studies or chess problems. He usually specializes in a particular genre, e.g. endgame studies, twomovers, threemovers, moremovers, helpmates, selfmates, fairy problems...

. There are many types of chess problems. The two most important are:
  • Directmates: white to move first and checkmate black within a specified number of moves against any defense. These are often referred to as "mate in n" – for example "mate in three" (a three-mover).
  • Studies
    Endgame study
    An endgame study, or just study, is a composed chess position—that is, one that has been made up rather than one from an actual game—presented as a sort of puzzle, in which the aim of the solver is to find a way for one side to win or draw, as stipulated, against any moves the other side...

    : orthodox problems in which the stipulation is that white to play must win or draw. Almost all studies are endgame positions.


Chess composition is a distinct branch of chess sport, and tournaments (or tourneys) exist for both the composition and solving of chess problems.

Example


This is one of the most famous chess studies; it was published by Richard Réti
Richard Réti
Réti composed one of the most famous chess studies, shown in this diagram. It was published in Ostrauer Morgenzeitung 4 December 1921. It seems impossible for the white king to catch the advanced black pawn, while the white pawn can be easily stopped by the black king...

 in 1921. It seems impossible to catch the advanced black pawn, while the black king can easily stop the white pawn. The solution is a diagonal
Diagonal
A diagonal is a line joining two nonconsecutive vertices of a polygon or polyhedron. Informally, any sloping line is called diagonal. The word "diagonal" derives from the Greek διαγώνιος , from dia- and gonia ; it was used by both Strabo and Euclid to refer to a line connecting two vertices of a...

 advance, which brings the king to both pawns at the same time: 1.Kg7! h4 2.Kf6! Kb6 (or 2...h3 3.Ke7 and the white king can support its pawn) 3. Ke5!! (now the white king comes just in time to support his pawn, or catch the black one) 3...h3 4. Kd6 draw.

Organization of competitions


Contemporary chess is an organized sport with structured international and national leagues, tournaments, and congress
Congress
A congress is a formal meeting of the representatives of different nations, constituent states, independent organizations , or groups....

es. Chess's international governing body is FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs). Most countries have a national chess organization as well (such as the US Chess Federation
United States Chess Federation
The United States Chess Federation is a non-profit organization, the governing chess organization within the United States, and one of the federations of the FIDE. The USCF was founded in 1939 from the merger of two regional chess organizations, and grew gradually until 1972, when membership...

 and English Chess Federation
English Chess Federation
The English Chess Federation is the governing chess organisation in England and is affiliated to FIDE. The ECF was formed in 2004 and was effectively a re-constitution of the extant governing body, the British Chess Federation , an organisation founded in 1904...

) which in turn is a member of FIDE. FIDE is a member of the International Olympic Committee
International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee is an international corporation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin on 23 June 1894 with Demetrios Vikelas as its first president...

, but the game of chess has never been part of the Olympic Games
Olympic Games
The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate...

; chess does have its own Olympiad
Chess Olympiad
The Chess Olympiad is a biennial chess tournament in which teams from all over the world compete against each other. The event is organised by FIDE, which selects the host nation.-Birth of the Olympiad:The first Olympiad was unofficial...

, held every two years as a team event.
The current World Chess Champion is Viswanathan Anand
Viswanathan Anand
V. Anand or Anand Viswanathan, usually referred as Viswanathan Anand, is an Indian chess Grandmaster, the current World Chess Champion, and currently second highest rated player in the world....

 of India. The reigning Women's World Champion is Hou Yifan
Hou Yifan
Hou Yifan is a Chinese chess prodigy. She is the reigning Women's World Chess Champion, the youngest ever to win the title, as well as the youngest female player ever to qualify for the title of Grandmaster.At the age of 12, Hou became the youngest player ever to participate in the FIDE Women's...

 from China. The world's highest rated female player, Judit Polgár
Judit Polgár
Judit Polgár is a Hungarian chess grandmaster. She is by far the strongest female chess player in history. In 1991, Polgár achieved the title of Grandmaster at the age of 15 years and 4 months, the youngest person ever to do so at that time.Polgár was ranked No...

, has never participated in the Women's World Chess Championship
Women's World Chess Championship
The Women's World Chess Championship is played to determine the women's world champion in chess. Like the World Chess Championship, it is administered by FIDE....

, instead preferring to compete with the leading men and maintaining a ranking among the top male players.

Other competitions for individuals include the World Junior Chess Championship
World Junior Chess Championship
The World Junior Chess Championship is an under-20 chess tournament organized by the World Chess Federation ....

, the European Individual Chess Championship, and the National Chess Championships. Invitation-only tournaments regularly attract the world's strongest players. Examples include Spain's Linares
Linares chess tournament
The Linares International Chess Tournament , is an annual chess tournament, usually played around the end of February, takes its name from the city of Linares in the Jaén province of Andalusia, Spain, in which it is held...

 event, Monte Carlo's Melody Amber
Melody Amber
The Amber chess tournament was an annual invitation-only event for some of the world's best players, from 1992 to 2011. Since the second edition, the event uniquely combined blindfold chess and speed chess, and has been held in Monte Carlo...

 tournament, the Dortmund Sparkassen
Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting
The Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting is an elite chess tournament held every summer in Dortmund, Germany.Dortmund is an invite-only event, and only the strongest grandmasters are invited...

 meeting, Sofia's M-tel Masters
M-tel Masters
M-Tel Masters is an annual super-GM chess tournament held since 2005 in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, sponsored and organized by the leading Bulgarian mobile network operator, M-Tel. According to the regulations, each of the six participants plays two games against every other, thus making it a...

, and Wijk aan Zee's Tata Steel tournament.

Regular team chess events include the Chess Olympiad
Chess Olympiad
The Chess Olympiad is a biennial chess tournament in which teams from all over the world compete against each other. The event is organised by FIDE, which selects the host nation.-Birth of the Olympiad:The first Olympiad was unofficial...

 and the European Team Championship
European Team Championship
The European Team Championship is an international team chess event, eligible for the participation of European nations whose chess federations are located in zones 1.1 to 1.9...

. The 38th Chess Olympiad
38th Chess Olympiad
The 38th Chess Olympiad, organized by the Fédération Internationale des Échecs and comprising an open and women's tournament, as well as several events designed to promote the game of chess, took place between 12–25 November 2008, in Dresden, Germany and was won by Armenia.The 2010 Olympiad is...

 was held 2008 in Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

, Germany; Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 won the gold in the unrestricted event for the second time in a row after Turin 2006
37th Chess Olympiad
The 37th Chess Olympiad, comprising an open and women's tournament and the general assembly of the Fédération Internationale des Échecs , took place between 20 May and 6 June 2006, in Turin, Italy.-Open tournament:...

, and Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 took the top medal for the women. The World Chess Solving Championship
World Chess Solving Championship
The World Chess Solving Championship is an annual competition in the solving of chess problems organised by FIDE via the Permanent Commission of the FIDE for Chess Compositions ....

 and World Correspondence Chess
Correspondence chess
Correspondence chess is chess played by various forms of long-distance correspondence, usually through a correspondence chess server, through email or by the postal system; less common methods which have been employed include fax and homing pigeon...

 Championships include both team and individual events.

Besides these prestigious competitions, there are thousands of other chess tournaments, matches, and festivals held around the world every year catering to players of all levels. Chess is promoted as a "mind sport" by the Mind Sports Organisation
Mind Sports Organisation
The Mind Sports Organisation is an association for promoting mental-skill games including Contract Bridge, Chess, Go, Mastermind, and Scrabble. Since 1997 it has annually organised in England a multi-sport competition, the Mind Sports Olympiad main event.The MSO was founded in conjunction with...

, alongside other mental-skill games such as Contract Bridge
Contract bridge
Contract bridge, usually known simply as bridge, is a trick-taking card game using a standard deck of 52 playing cards played by four players in two competing partnerships with partners sitting opposite each other around a small table...

, Go
Go (board game)
Go , is an ancient board game for two players that originated in China more than 2,000 years ago...

, and Scrabble
Scrabble
Scrabble is a word game in which two to four players score points by forming words from individual lettered tiles on a game board marked with a 15-by-15 grid. The words are formed across and down in crossword fashion and must appear in a standard dictionary. Official reference works provide a list...

.

Titles and rankings


The best players can be awarded specific lifetime titles by the world chess organization FIDE:
  • Grandmaster (shortened as GM; sometimes International Grandmaster or IGM is used) is awarded to world-class chess masters. Apart from World Champion, Grandmaster is the highest title a chess player can attain. Before FIDE will confer the title on a player, the player must have an Elo chess rating
    Elo rating system
    The Elo rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in two-player games such as chess. It is named after its creator Arpad Elo, a Hungarian-born American physics professor....

     (see below) of at least 2500 at one time and three favorable results (called norms) in tournaments involving other Grandmasters, including some from countries other than the applicant's. There are other milestones a player can achieve to attain the title, such as winning the World Junior Championship.
  • International Master (shortened as IM). The conditions are similar to GM, but less demanding. The minimum rating for the IM title is 2400.
  • FIDE Master (shortened as FM). The usual way for a player to qualify for the FIDE Master title is by achieving a FIDE rating of 2300 or more.
  • Candidate Master (shortened as CM). Similar to FM, but with a FIDE rating of at least 2200.

All the titles are open to men and women. Separate women-only titles, such as Woman Grandmaster (WGM), are available. Beginning with Nona Gaprindashvili
Nona Gaprindashvili
Nona Gaprindashvili is a Georgian chess player, the sixth women's world chess champion , and first female Grandmaster. Born in Zugdidi, Georgia , she was the strongest female player of her generation....

 in 1978, a number of women have earned the GM title, and most of the top ten women in 2006 hold the unrestricted GM title.Current FIDE lists of top players with their titles are online at

As of August 2011, there are 1363 active grandmasters and 3153 international masters in the world. Top three countries with the largest numbers of grandmasters are Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, and Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, with 208, 78, and 76. The country with most grandmasters per capita is Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

, with 11 GMs and 13 IMs among the population of 310,000.

International titles are awarded to composers and solvers of chess problems and to correspondence chess players (by the International Correspondence Chess Federation
International Correspondence Chess Federation
International Correspondence Chess Federation was founded in 1951 as a new appearance of the ICCA , which was founded in 1945, as successor of the IFSB , founded in 1928....

). National chess organizations may also award titles, usually to the advanced players still under the level needed for international titles; an example is the Chess expert
Chess expert
Chess expert is a title given by the United States Chess Federation . It is awarded to chess players rated from 2000 to 2199. Players rated above that are masters while players below that are class players. Approximately 400,000 chess players have USCF ratings, of which approximately 4000 are rated...

 title used in the United States.

In order to rank players, FIDE, ICCF
International Correspondence Chess Federation
International Correspondence Chess Federation was founded in 1951 as a new appearance of the ICCA , which was founded in 1945, as successor of the IFSB , founded in 1928....

, and national chess organizations use the Elo rating system
Elo rating system
The Elo rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in two-player games such as chess. It is named after its creator Arpad Elo, a Hungarian-born American physics professor....

 developed by Arpad Elo
Árpád Élo
Arpad Emrick Elo is the creator of the Elo rating system for two-player games such as chess. Born in Egyházaskesző, Austro-Hungarian Empire, he moved to the United States with his parents as a child in 1913.Elo was a professor of physics at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was...

. Elo is a statistical system
Statistical model
A statistical model is a formalization of relationships between variables in the form of mathematical equations. A statistical model describes how one or more random variables are related to one or more random variables. The model is statistical as the variables are not deterministically but...

 based on the assumption that the chess performance of each player in their games is a random variable. Arpad Elo thought of a player's true skill as the average of that player's performance random variable, and showed how to estimate the average from results of player's games. The US Chess Federation implemented Elo's suggestions in 1960, and the system quickly gained recognition as being both fairer and more accurate than older systems; it was adopted by FIDE in 1970. The highest ever FIDE rating was 2851, which Garry Kasparov had on the July 1999 and January 2000 lists.

Publications



Chess is covered extensively in books and journals. Thousands of books about chess have been written, and dozens of periodicals cover chess.

Mathematics and computers



The game structure and nature of chess is related to several branches of mathematics. Many combinatorical
Combinatorics
Combinatorics is a branch of mathematics concerning the study of finite or countable discrete structures. Aspects of combinatorics include counting the structures of a given kind and size , deciding when certain criteria can be met, and constructing and analyzing objects meeting the criteria ,...

 and topological
Topology
Topology is a major area of mathematics concerned with properties that are preserved under continuous deformations of objects, such as deformations that involve stretching, but no tearing or gluing...

 problems connected to chess were known of for hundreds of years. In 1913, Ernst Zermelo
Ernst Zermelo
Ernst Friedrich Ferdinand Zermelo was a German mathematician, whose work has major implications for the foundations of mathematics and hence on philosophy. He is known for his role in developing Zermelo–Fraenkel axiomatic set theory and his proof of the well-ordering theorem.-Life:He graduated...

 used chess as a basis for his theory of game strategies, which is considered as one of the predecessors of game theory
Game theory
Game theory is a mathematical method for analyzing calculated circumstances, such as in games, where a person’s success is based upon the choices of others...

.

The number of legal positions in chess is estimated to be between 1043 and 1047 (a provable upper bound), with a game-tree complexity of approximately 10123. The game-tree complexity of chess was first calculated by Claude Shannon as 10120, a number known as the Shannon number
Shannon number
The Shannon number, named after Claude Shannon, is an estimated lower bound on the game-tree complexity of chess. Shannon calculated it as an aside in his 1950 paper "Programming a Computer for Playing Chess"...

. Typically an average position has thirty to forty possible moves, but there may be as few as zero (in the case of checkmate or stalemate) or as many as 218.

The most important mathematical challenge of chess is the development of algorithm
Algorithm
In mathematics and computer science, an algorithm is an effective method expressed as a finite list of well-defined instructions for calculating a function. Algorithms are used for calculation, data processing, and automated reasoning...

s that can play chess. The idea of creating a chess-playing machine dates to the 18th century; around 1769, the chess-playing automaton
Automaton
An automaton is a self-operating machine. The word is sometimes used to describe a robot, more specifically an autonomous robot. An alternative spelling, now obsolete, is automation.-Etymology:...

 called The Turk
The Turk
The Turk, also known as the Mechanical Turk or Automaton Chess Player , was a fake chess-playing machine constructed in the late 18th century. From 1770 until its destruction by fire in 1854, it was exhibited by various owners as an automaton, though it was exposed in the early 1820s as an...

 became famous before being exposed as a hoax
Hoax
A hoax is a deliberately fabricated falsehood made to masquerade as truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgment, or rumors, urban legends, pseudosciences or April Fools' Day events that are passed along in good faith by believers or as jokes.-Definition:The British...

. Serious trials based on automatons, such as El Ajedrecista
El Ajedrecista
El Ajedrecista was an automaton built in 1912 by Leonardo Torres y Quevedo. El Ajedrecista made a public debut during the Paris World Fair of 1914, creating great excitement at the time. It was first widely mentioned in Scientific American as "Torres and His Remarkable Automatic Devices" on...

, were too complex and limited to be useful.

Since the advent of the digital computer in the 1950s, chess enthusiasts and computer engineers have built, with increasing degrees of seriousness and success, chess-playing machines and computer programs. The groundbreaking paper on computer chess, "Programming a Computer for Playing Chess," was published in 1950 by Shannon. He wrote:

The chess machine is an ideal one to start with, since: (1) the problem is sharply defined both in allowed operations (the moves) and in the ultimate goal (checkmate); (2) it is neither so simple as to be trivial nor too difficult for satisfactory solution; (3) chess is generally considered to require "thinking" for skillful play; a solution of this problem will force us either to admit the possibility of a mechanized thinking or to further restrict our concept of "thinking"; (4) the discrete structure of chess fits well into the digital nature of
modern computers.


The Association for Computing Machinery
Association for Computing Machinery
The Association for Computing Machinery is a learned society for computing. It was founded in 1947 as the world's first scientific and educational computing society. Its membership is more than 92,000 as of 2009...

 (ACM) held the first major chess tournament for computers, the North American Computer Chess Championship
North American Computer Chess Championship
The North American Computer Chess Championship was a computer chess championship held from 1970 to 1994. It was organised by the Association for Computing Machinery and by Dr. Monty Newborn, Professor of Computer Science at McGill University. It was one of the first computer chess tournaments. The...

, in September 1970. CHESS 3.0
Chess (Northwestern University)
Chess was a pioneering chess program from the 1970s, authored by Larry Atkin and David Slate at Northwestern University. Chess ran on Control Data Corporation's line of supercomputers. It dominated the first computer chess tournaments, such as the World Computer Chess Championship and ACM's North...

, a chess program from Northwestern University
Northwestern University
Northwestern University is a private research university in Evanston and Chicago, Illinois, USA. Northwestern has eleven undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools offering 124 undergraduate degrees and 145 graduate and professional degrees....

, won the championship. Nowadays, chess programs compete in the World Computer Chess Championship
World Computer Chess Championship
World Computer Chess Championship is an annual event where computer chess engines compete against each other. The event is organized by the International Computer Games Association...

, held annually since 1974. At first considered only a curiosity, the best chess playing programs, for example Rybka
Rybka
Rybka is a computer chess engine designed by International Master Vasik Rajlich. , Rybka is one of the top-rated engines on chess engine rating lists and has won many computer chess tournaments...

, have become extremely strong. In 1997, a computer won a chess match against a reigning World Champion for the first time: IBM's Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov
Garry Kasparov
Garry Kimovich Kasparov is a Russian chess grandmaster, a former World Chess Champion, writer, political activist, and one of the greatest chess players of all time....

 3½–2½ (it scored two wins, one loss, and three draws
Draw (chess)
In chess, a draw is when a game ends in a tie. It is one of the possible outcomes of a game, along with a win for White and a win for Black . Usually, in tournaments a draw is worth a half point to each player, while a win is worth one point to the victor and none to the loser.For the most part,...

). In 2009, a mobile phone
Mobile phone
A mobile phone is a device which can make and receive telephone calls over a radio link whilst moving around a wide geographic area. It does so by connecting to a cellular network provided by a mobile network operator...

 won a category 6 tournament with a performance rating 2898: chess engine Hiarcs
HIARCS
HIARCS is a commercial computer chess program developed by Mark Uniacke. Its name is an acronym stands for higher intelligence auto response chess system.-Overview:...

 13 running on the mobile phone HTC Touch HD
HTC Touch HD
The HTC Touch HD, also known as the HTC T828X or its codename the HTC Blackstone, is a Windows Mobile 6.1 -powered luxury Pocket PC designed and manufactured by HTC...

 won the Copa Mercosur tournament with nine wins and one draw. The best chess programs are now able to beat the strongest human players.

With huge databases of past games and high analytical ability, computers can help players to learn chess and prepare for matches. Internet Chess Server
Internet chess server
An Internet chess server is an external server that provides the facility to play, discuss, and view the board game of chess over the Internet...

s allow people to find and play opponents all over the world. The presence of computers and modern communication tools have raised concerns regarding cheating
Cheating
Cheating refers to the breaking of rules to gain advantage in a competitive situation. The rules infringed may be explicit, or they may be from an unwritten code of conduct based on morality, ethics or custom, making the identification of cheating a subjective process. Cheating can refer...

 during games, most notably the "bathroom controversy" during the 2006 World Championship.

Psychology


There is an extensive scientific literature on chess psychology. Alfred Binet
Alfred Binet
Alfred Binet was a French psychologist who was the inventor of the first usable intelligence test, known at that time as the Binet test and today referred to as the IQ test. His principal goal was to identify students who needed special help in coping with the school curriculum...

 and others showed that knowledge
Knowledge
Knowledge is a familiarity with someone or something unknown, which can include information, facts, descriptions, or skills acquired through experience or education. It can refer to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject...

 and verbal, rather than visuospatial, ability lies at the core of expertise. In his doctoral thesis, Adriaan de Groot
Adriaan de Groot
Adrianus Dingeman de Groot was a Dutch chess master and psychologist, who conducted some of the most famous chess experiments of all time in the 1940s-60...

 showed that chess masters can rapidly perceive the key features of a position. According to de Groot, this perception
Perception
Perception is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of the environment by organizing and interpreting sensory information. All perception involves signals in the nervous system, which in turn result from physical stimulation of the sense organs...

, made possible by years of practice and study, is more important than the sheer ability to anticipate moves. De Groot showed that chess masters can memorize positions shown for a few seconds almost perfectly. The ability to memorize does not alone account for chess-playing skill, since masters and novices, when faced with random arrangements of chess pieces, had equivalent recall (about half a dozen positions in each case). Rather, it is the ability to recognize patterns, which are then memorized, which distinguished the skilled players from the novices. When the positions of the pieces were taken from an actual game, the masters had almost total positional recall.

More recent research has focused on chess as mental training
Chess as mental training
There are efforts to use the game of chess as a tool to aid the intellectual development of young people. Chess is considered the "drosophila" of cognitive psychology and artificial intelligence studies, because it represents the domain in which expert performance has been most intensively studied...

; the respective roles of knowledge and look-ahead search; brain imaging studies of chess masters and novices; blindfold chess
Blindfold chess
Blindfold chess is a form of chess play wherein the players do not see the positions of the pieces or touch them. This forces players to maintain a mental model of the positions of the pieces...

; the role of personality
Personality psychology
Personality psychology is a branch of psychology that studies personality and individual differences. Its areas of focus include:* Constructing a coherent picture of the individual and his or her major psychological processes...

 and intelligence
Intelligence
Intelligence has been defined in different ways, including the abilities for abstract thought, understanding, communication, reasoning, learning, planning, emotional intelligence and problem solving....

 in chess skill; gender differences; and computational models of chess expertise. The role of practice and talent in the development of chess and other domains of expertise has led to a lot of research recently. Ericsson and colleagues have argued that deliberate practice is sufficient for reaching high levels of expertise in chess. Recent research indicates that factors other than practice are also important. For example, Gobet and colleagues have shown that stronger players start playing chess earlier, that they are more likely to be left-handed, and that they are more likely to be born in late winter and early spring.

Chess and intelligence


Although the link between performance in chess and general intelligence
General intelligence
General intelligence may refer to:* general intelligence factor in psychology* Intelligence* strong AI, an artificial intelligence that matches or exceeds human intelligence...

 is often assumed, researchers have largely failed to confirm its existence. For example, a 2006 study found no differences in fluid intelligence, as measured by Raven's Progressive Matrices
Raven's Progressive Matrices
Raven's Progressive Matrices are non-verbal multiple choice measures of the reasoning component of Spearman's g , which is often referred to as general intelligence. The tests were originally developed by John C. Raven in 1936...

, between strong adult chess players and regular people. There is some evidence towards a correlation between performance in chess and intelligence among beginning players. However, performance in chess also relies substantially on one's amount of experience playing the game, and the role of experience may overwhelm the role of intelligence. Chess experts are estimated to have in excess of 10,000 and possibly as many as 300,000 position patterns stored in their memory; prolonged training is necessary to acquire that amount of data.

A 2007 study of young chess players in the United Kingdom found that strong players tended to have above-average IQ scores, but, within that group, the correlation between chess skill and IQ was actually moderately negative, meaning that smarter children tended to achieve a lower level of chess skill.

Variants




Chess variants are forms of chess where the game is played with a different board, special fairy pieces
Fairy chess piece
A fairy chess piece or unorthodox chess piece is a piece analogous to a chess piece. It is not used in conventional chess, but is used in certain chess variants and some chess problems...

, or different rules. There are more than two thousand published chess variants, the most popular being xiangqi
Xiangqi
Xiangqi is a two-player Chinese board game in the same family as Western chess, chaturanga, shogi, Indian chess and janggi. The present-day form of Xiangqi originated in China and is therefore commonly called Chinese chess in English. Xiangqi is one of the most popular board games in China...

 in China and shogi
Shogi
, also known as Japanese chess, is a two-player board game in the same family as Western chess, chaturanga, and Chinese Xiangqi, and is the most popular of a family of chess variants native to Japan...

 in Japan. Chess variants include:
  • Direct predecessors of chess (chaturanga
    Chaturanga
    Chaturanga is an ancient Indian game that is presumed to be the common ancestor of the games of chess, shogi, and makruk, and related to xiangqi and janggi.Chaturanga developed in Gupta India around the 6th century...

     and shatranj
    Shatranj
    Shatranj is an old form of chess, which came to the Western world from India. Modern chess has gradually developed from this game.-Etymology and origins:...

    ).
  • Traditional national or regional variants like xiangqi
    Xiangqi
    Xiangqi is a two-player Chinese board game in the same family as Western chess, chaturanga, shogi, Indian chess and janggi. The present-day form of Xiangqi originated in China and is therefore commonly called Chinese chess in English. Xiangqi is one of the most popular board games in China...

    , shogi
    Shogi
    , also known as Japanese chess, is a two-player board game in the same family as Western chess, chaturanga, and Chinese Xiangqi, and is the most popular of a family of chess variants native to Japan...

    , janggi
    Janggi
    Janggi , sometimes called Korean chess, is a strategic board game popular in Korea. It derived from Xiangqi , which itself is thought to be a descendent of the Indian chess game Chaturanga...

    , and makruk
    Makruk
    Makruk , or Thai chess, is a board game descended from the 6th-century Indian game of chaturanga or a close relative thereof, and therefore related to chess. It is regarded as the most similar living game to this common ancestor of all chess variants....

    , which share common predecessors with Western chess.
  • Modern variants, such as Chess960
    Chess960
    Chess960 is a chess variant invented and advocated by former World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer, originally announced on June 19, 1996 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It employs the same board and pieces as standard chess, but the starting position of the pieces is randomized along the players' home...

    , where the initial position is one selected randomly from 960 possible starting positions. Randomizing the start position makes it impracticable to prepare opening lines in advance.


See also





External links


International organizations
  • FIDE – World Chess Federation



News

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