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  • Yuri Averbakh

A history of Chess

"Chess has evolved together with the ever-changing world."

Page 82

"Al-Biruni was the first to describe the Indian war game for four players in his work India. It happened much later, in 1031, when shatranj was widely known in the East.

The dispute arose around a purely hypothetical question: Did al-Biruni see a game for two players in India or he did not? Also, was the game for two players preceded by a game for four players? The last question arose because the game for four players became known to Arabs four centuries later than the game for two, a fact that gave birth to a hypothesis that the game for four players was a later version. However, if we follow the development of the race games with dice, there is no doubt that at first there was a game for four players. In fact, many modern games with dice in India are also for four players, and as I already said, India is a country of tradition."

"Thus, we arrive at the very important conclusion that the idea of checkmate develops automatically from the rules of the game for four players when it changes to a game for two players."

Page 23

"In order for the Indian war game for four players to become chess, three major changes would have to occur. First, the game had to become a game for two players, second, there had to be a way to win, such as checkmating the king, and, third, the dice had to be discarded."

Page 25

"The war game for four players most likely appeared when north-western India was fragmented, not later than the 3rd century or the beginning of the 4th century AD."

Page 32

"For centuries, the rules of shatranj remained unchanged, but there were numerous attempts to transfer the game to different boards. For example, al-Adli described so-called “oblong” chess, which was played on a 4 × 10 board. The historian al-Masudi (who died in 956) also mentioned a game on a 10 × 10 board, called “complete chess,” as well as so called “circular” chess, nicknamed “Byzantine,” played on a round board that had 64 squares, arranged in four rings with 16 squares each."

Page 42

"Shatranj coincidentally came to the Iberian Peninsula from Baghdad."

Page 45

“Chess was introduced to Cordoba by Ziryab or some other Iraqi emigrant in the 9th century.”

"Saint Genadio (the Bishop of Astorga), the first saint to have his name associated with chess."

"Genadio allegedly recommended chess as a means of concentration and a vehicle to approach God."

Page 46

"A chessboard in the coat of arms has become a symbol of honesty."

Page 51

"Among the many mysteries of the history of chess, one of the most intriguing is how and why the Middle Eastern vizier was replaced by the queen when the game came to Western Europe.

About the date of the appearance of the queen in chess, I found that it happened at the end of 11th century.

It is not just coincidence that the chess queen first appeared in Byzantine chess."

Pages 58-63

"Spain was the birthplace of modern chess, Italy, which had already entered the Renaissance era, was better prepared for it."

Page 79

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