Questions relating to the history of chess, whose origins trace to the ancient Indian game of chaturanga.

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6
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1answer
56 views

earliest text which mentions pawn promotion rule

My question is about the history of the pawn promotion rule (promotion to a queen). What is the earliest existing text (authentic written document in any language) which mentions the pawn ...
3
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1answer
85 views

How did the Grand Prix Attack get its name?

The moves 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. f4 characterize the Grand Prix Attack in the Sicilian defense. [FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. f4 ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Which notable players in chess history successfully used dubious openings?

I am reminded of a famous game between Karpov and Tony Miles where Miles played 1...a6 against Karpov's 1. e4 and still won the game. [FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/4P3/8/PPPP1PPP/RNBQKBNR b KQkq ...
3
votes
2answers
213 views

20th Century Grand Master who had the highest draw percentage in his career?

Title says it all. For my own part; I am looking to learn and adopt a play style which does not necessarily win, but is typified as being incredibly difficult to actually win against.
2
votes
2answers
99 views

has the success of computers reduced the stature of chess as an 'intellectual' sport/game?

As human beings, we know that there are different aspects of intelligence. Often, innovation and creativity are considered to be higher levels of intelligence. Whereas, the ability to calculate is ...
3
votes
1answer
141 views

Is chess a sport? If yes, then why?

Sometimes (e.g. at some schools) chess is considered to be a sport. Is chess a sport? I view sport as a physical activity. For instance, if a doctor asks you "Are you doing any sports?" would your ...
2
votes
1answer
96 views

Paul Morphy vs Henry Bird missing games.

The Historical Chess Ratings page claims that Paul Morphy played 12 games with Henry Bird, with a final score of 10.5 - 1.5 (Kasparov's book My Great Predecessors Part I also mentions this (page 55), ...
7
votes
1answer
192 views

Is the first game of World Chess Championship 2013 shortest game in WCC history?

First game of World Chess Championship 2013, Carlsen vs. Anand ended up drawn after just 16 moves. Is this shortest game in the history of world chess championship?
4
votes
3answers
871 views

Why is the king powerless and the queen powerful?

There's a discussion on meta whether historical questions are allowed or no, and it seems to me that it it's allowed as long as it deals with Chess. Historically, real kings were powerful, (Alexander ...
6
votes
5answers
290 views

Games that are famous because of their underlying story

I would like this question to be Community Wiki because I hope to collect several answers. Can you name famous games where part of the fame comes from the circumstances surrounding the game? I hope ...
1
vote
0answers
208 views

Alekhine's infamous propaganda articles

I have rephrased the question because I am genuinely interested in an answer and I do not want to spark a debate. In 1941 a German newspaper published in occupied Paris published a series of articles ...
4
votes
1answer
227 views

THE longest problem ever (much longer than the mere 517 mover…)

The "Fireside Book of Chess" by I. Chernev and F. Reinfeld includes the following diagram [fen "3nk3/3NN3/3PP3/3BB3/3PP3/3PP3/3PP3/2RQKR2 w - - 0 1"] Composed by J.N. Babson for Bretano's Chess ...
2
votes
2answers
135 views

Professional games that ended with mate

What are some professional games where the losing side did not resign before receiving mate? And how sure are people of the record? In old books they did not care much for complete historical ...
6
votes
1answer
116 views

What are the different rules for claiming a draw?

According to the current FIDE rules of chess: The game is drawn upon a correct claim by the player having the move, when the same position, for at least the third time (not necessarily by a ...
4
votes
1answer
156 views

Which was that Marshall's game with that spectacular Queen sac?

Which was the game where Marshall, I think that with Black, made a spectacular Queen sac in g3 (White pawns on f2, g2, and h2, King in g1). The Black Queen could be taken with the f and h pawns and ...
11
votes
2answers
520 views

Is there an origin or story of where the pieces that make a chess game got their name from?

I understand why there would be a king and queen but I would love to know where the idea to call pieces what they are - such as the Rook, Knight, Bishop and Pawn - came from. Is there any background ...
9
votes
1answer
307 views

Why is it illegal to move into check?

In chess, it is against the rules to move into check, or to not move out of check. But why? Obviously, if you went against this rule, you'd immediately lose. But it seems strange to make it illegal to ...
13
votes
3answers
263 views

Why is algebraic notation called algebraic?

How does algebra relate to this chess notation? Why do they call this chess notation algebraic?
6
votes
1answer
105 views

Online resources for medieval Persian chess games or puzzles?

I am looking for any collection of chess games of al-Suli or anyone medieval scholar's composition of games. Any resources would be appreciated.
9
votes
2answers
653 views

How to Verbally Describe Chess Moves?

This may sound incredibly naive, but all the time on T.V, movies, books, etc. People can be heard saying things like "Queen to Rook 5" or like "Knight to King 3" and things like this. What is this? I ...
8
votes
1answer
130 views

Why did Magnus Carlsen drop out of World Championship in 2011?

I heard from a friend of mine that Magnus Carlsen did not play the Candidate Matches in 2011. Why did he do that?
5
votes
1answer
112 views

What is the origin of descriptive notation?

Algebraic Notation is the modern standard for recording chess games. It is easily human-readable, yet it can be parsed by computers without difficulty. Descriptive notation predates algebraic ...
5
votes
2answers
216 views

Is there a collection of chess images in public domain?

I am looking for images of chess players, pieces, as well as any other graphics related to chess - public domain only.
11
votes
1answer
480 views

What influenced the development of the King's Indian Defense?

The King's Indian Defense is characterized by the moves 1. d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6. (As opposed to 2. . .e6, with the intention of developing the Bishop to the Queen-side.) Black aims for a strong King-side ...
12
votes
4answers
704 views

Has there been much research on rating inflation?

Magnus Carlsen's draw in yesterday's round of the 2012 London Chess Classic assured that his rating in the next published FIDE rating list will surpass Kasparov's previous record of 2851. I've ...
8
votes
2answers
364 views

How come chess prodigies seem to start in young ages?

I started looking into the history of a few grandmasters such as Fischer and Carlsen, but why does it seem to have its "kings" and queens" playing the game from a young age? Can anyone show me any ...
4
votes
2answers
131 views

Chess as a De Jure National Sport or Pastime

By law Capoeira was declared the national sport of Brazil in 1972. Sri Lanka has legally declared Volleyball its national sport in 1992. I'm interested to know more about which countries have (or ...
8
votes
3answers
246 views

The Historical Comparison of Players

Arpad Elo described (chess life 1962) his ratings as "the measurement of the position of a cork bobbing up and down on the surface of agitated water with a yard stick tied to a rope and which ...
22
votes
9answers
2k views

Why is stalemate a draw?

It is so difficult to force stalemate and sometimes unintentional too, so why is stalemate a draw? As the opponent doesn't have a further move, why is it not considered a win?
9
votes
1answer
233 views

What is the origin of Tal's expression “They can only take one at a time”?

The expression refers to aggressive attacking style where one side leaves multiple pieces attacked, but the opponent cannot take full advantage of it since "they can only take one at a time". Was this ...
5
votes
1answer
330 views

When was the term 'Super Grandmaster' first used?

According to the following wiki link, The unofficial title, "Super Grandmaster", is often used by players to refer to those with a 2700+ rating to distinguish the most serious world champion ...
8
votes
2answers
202 views

What was the first chess-playing automaton?

One well-known automaton is The Turk. But which was the first one and when was it constructed? EDIT : I'm also ok with fake automatons (as the Turk was)
14
votes
4answers
451 views

Chess games that advanced endgame theory

Single games of chess can routinely have a significant impact on opening theory, of course, but it should be quite uncommon for a single game to significantly advance endgame theory, since that's a ...
8
votes
2answers
433 views

Is there a good book on the 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine world championship match?

To disambiguate what I mean by the shorthand "good" in the question's title: Is there an English-language book that tells the story of the 1927 world championship match between Capablanca and ...
7
votes
3answers
242 views

Joke Annotations

I have run into two examples of hilarious annotations of games over the years. One is the "annotation" of the fake "Immortal Overprotection Game" Nimzowitsch-Systemsson, written by Hans Kmoch as a ...
4
votes
1answer
217 views

How is chess viewed in USSR vs Post-USSR?

I was reading the following wikipedia article on Mark Taimanov and I was very shocked (I guess I shoudn't be knowing how the Soviets took chess so seriously) that when Taimanov lost to Fischer 6-0 , ...
8
votes
3answers
241 views

Why did Viktor Korchnoi leave the USSR?

Why did Viktor Korchnoi/Kortchnoi leave the USSR? Maybe the answer could include a little more trivia since he is such an interesting character.
10
votes
3answers
546 views

What sense does promotion to queen make?

When a pawn finally reaches the eighth rank, then it can be promoted to rook, knight, bishop or queen. It is not hard to imagine that a soldier who has achieved a lot could be promoted to an officer. ...
6
votes
1answer
165 views

Did any authors ever try to adopt Hans Kmoch's pawn structure terminology?

In response to an earlier question, I mentioned the 1959 book Pawn Power in Chess by IM Hans Kmoch. One of the book's most well-known aspects it that it introduced a glut of less-than-useful ...
12
votes
2answers
323 views

What are some chess games that feature Zugzwang despite many pieces remaining on the board?

The game Saemisch - Nimzowitsch (Copenhagen 1923) has come to be known as the Immortal Zugzwang Game, as a play on Anderssen's swashbuckling Immortal Game. I am interested in finding other examples of ...
5
votes
2answers
461 views

When and why was en passant invented?

Other than castling, the only "strange" move that chess pieces can ever make is en passant. It seems a little odd to me that someone thought that such a "different" move was so important to include ...
5
votes
1answer
202 views

Has a highly-rated GM ever lost to a low-rated opponent who didn't go on to become a GM?

Has a highly-rated GM ever lost to a low-rated opponent who didn't go on to become a GM? Also, currently has there ever been a GM who lost to low-rated opponents on a consistent basis?
3
votes
1answer
149 views

Did Indian systems really have fianchettos?

Wikipedia quotes: The Indian Defences by g6 coupled with d6, or b6 coupled with e6, were largely taught to European players by the example of Moheschunder and other Indians, to whom the ...
4
votes
1answer
797 views

What's the highest rating any computer has ever attained?

Along with that, I'd like to know what the highest rating of any human has ever been - including historical estimates.
13
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2answers
429 views

What is the origin of this breakthrough combination?

If you've spent enough time in the world of chess, it's not unlikely that you've come across the following position, with white to move and win, or an essentially identical one. You'll see plenty of ...
8
votes
1answer
441 views

What are the origins of the words 'zwischenzug' and 'zugzwang'?

I've heard chess analysts use the words Zugzwang (being forced to make a bad move) and Zwischenzug (making an intermediate move which improves the outcome of the next move) in commentary. Does anyone ...
5
votes
1answer
149 views

Does Boris Gelfand share his surname with a chess piece?

Boris Gelfand was just narrowly edged out by Anand in their match's rapid tiebreaks, and I thought I'd ask an oddball question related to him. The bishop chess piece is known by several different ...
14
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3answers
594 views

Deep Blue vs Kasparov - Aftermath

Evaluating 200M positions per second and having a search tree of 20+ moves might not be enough to beat a World Champion if a computer searches in the wrong direction or if it's evaluating positions a ...
7
votes
2answers
511 views

Who is/was the lowest ranked World Chess Champion?

Boris Gelfand has just won the 7th of 12 games (all previous drawn) in the FIDE World Championship match against the current holder of the title Viswanathan Anand. This puts him in a good position to ...
6
votes
1answer
309 views

How did castling originate?

Castling to me has alwayes seemed like such a huge leap in terms of game play that I've always wondered how it came to be. Does anyone know the history behind how and why castling came to be?