Podcast #128: We chat with Kent C Dodds about why he loves React and discuss what life was like in the dark days before Git. Listen now.

Questions tagged [history]

Use this tag for questions relating to the history of chess and chess organizations, whose origins trace to the ancient Indian game of Chaturanga.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
8
votes
1answer
241 views

Puzzling phrases

While reading about Paul Morphy's games I have come across several instances of phrases like "playing his fellow townsmen at odds of Knight or Rook" or "he extended his offer of Pawn and move to any ...
0
votes
2answers
163 views

List of famous, but incorrect, chess problems

Surely it has happened, that a famous chess problem turned out to be incorrect because some move was overlooked. Maybe a chess engine found out that a classic problem was bad! Is there a collection of ...
2
votes
2answers
63 views

How has the frequency of FIDE rating lists changed over the years?

Today FIDE publishes a new rating list once a month. When FIDE first started publishing official lists in 1971 they came out once a year. How has the frequency changed over the years? When did the ...
4
votes
2answers
83 views

What are the records for highest 1 year span performance rating?

I've heard that Bobby Fischer had a 2892 performance in 1971. If this is true, it's probably the highest performance, but I don't know if this is true. Does anyone have any information about this?
4
votes
2answers
181 views

Does anyone have a version of the 50x50 article by Nikita Plaksin?

In 1979, Nikita M. Plaksin published a reportedly fascinating article containing 50 problems all related to the 50 moves rule. Unfortunately I can't find it anywhere, the only links that I could find ...
2
votes
2answers
113 views

Cases of grandmasters renouncing titles, tournament victories, etc?

Apart from Bobby Fischer "renouncing", in a sense, the World Championship title in 1975, are there any other famous cases from chess history of strong players voluntarily renouncing titles, tournament ...
24
votes
3answers
8k views

What does the following chess proverb mean: “Chess is a sea where a gnat may drink from and an elephant may bathe in.”

"Chess is a sea where a gnat may drink from and an elephant may bathe in." ~ Anonymous The above proverb is scattered everywhere throughout chess literature, folklore and even software. I have never ...
17
votes
5answers
9k views

Why do players in the past play much longer tournaments than today's top players?

Looking through the history of chess we find tournaments that are significantly longer than today's, e.g. London 1899 - 15 players, double round robin New York 1924 - 11 players, double round robin ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the origin/history of the traditional piece values?

Almost everyone knows the standard rules of thumb: a minor piece is worth three pawns, a rook is worth five pawns, and a queen is worth nine. (I’m aware that this is debated; in particular many ...
3
votes
2answers
173 views

Looking for an old problem that I can't quite remember

I remember seeing a chess problem once that I cannot find. I think that I saw it in a YouTube video, but I seem to find it again. The theme of the puzzle, I think, was something like caging in the ...
6
votes
1answer
270 views

Are there any known examples of spurious strong chess openings, which have been determined to be dubious with the introduction of the first engines?

I'm curious about the history of chess openings. Nowadays there is a lot of theory about what opening moves are considered mainstream and (near) optimal, such that either side can keep up with their ...
8
votes
1answer
188 views

Historical origin of the queen as a chess piece

As far as I know, chess was introduced at Europe from Arabia by a Spanish king: Alfonso X. I recently read an article in Spanish press saying the queen was also introduced as a piece in Spain. The ...
2
votes
1answer
176 views

Are today's top correspondence chess players stronger than those from 5 years ago?

On the one hand today's chess engines will stomp those from five years ago no problem, not to mention hardware improves; on the other hand, correspondence chess players emphasize that one can't just ...
-3
votes
1answer
150 views

How come Paul Morphy has lots of weird and wonderful games? [closed]

Paul Morphy, from what I’ve seem, seems to have been a master of making weird and wonderful games, such as his famous kingside castling checkmate game. Are there any particular reasons for this?
2
votes
2answers
163 views

What should be defined as an en passant checkmate?

Is there a general consensus amongst top chess players, composers, analyzists, and organizations, such as FIDE, for what exactly defines an en passant checkmate? Is there any history for it? As far ...
4
votes
1answer
139 views

Professional Databases and Historical Games

I have tried to look for historical chess games (i.e. 19th century to early 20th century). I usually use Chessbase online database and chessgames.com. I have never paid for a database or database ...
2
votes
1answer
172 views

Is there any documented game by Benjamin Blumenfeld where he played Blumenfeld Gambit?

Is there any documented game by Benjamin Blumenfeld where he played Blumenfeld Gambit?
7
votes
1answer
189 views

Who was the last Indian player to beat Vishy, and when?

The question came to mind following today's game between Vishy (Viswanathan Anand) and the young Raunak Sadhwani at the Isle of Man 2018 Tournament. Has Vishy been beaten by an Indian player since, ...
11
votes
2answers
586 views

Benko's three-mover that stumped Fischer

In Christian Hesse's book The Joy of Chess one reads about a mate-in-3 problem composed by Pál Benkö that stumped Bobby Fischer. Hesse gives the following diagram: [FEN "8/8/8/4k3/8/8/8/2BQKB2 w - - ...
9
votes
3answers
560 views

Why is the FIDE name in French?

I noticed that FIDE stands for " Fédération Internationale des Échecs". Shouldn't it be in English as 'World Chess Federation'? I noticed, though unrelated, that it is the same for SI Units (System ...
6
votes
1answer
456 views

How did Taimanov lose this game to Karpov?

I can't understand how Taimanov (playing White) resigned in the following position against Karpov from the Moscow team leagues in 1973: After 40.Rc2 or 40.d5 the position seems to be equal. I know ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Unknown old FIDE players

I am interested in the History of chess and looking at old FIDE ranking lists I am a bit puzzled by the lack of information about some very good players. For instance, in the list of July 1972: ...
7
votes
2answers
560 views

Why the Founder of Chess been killed?

I heard from many where that a man who introduced the game Chess was hanged or killed by the King of that time, What was the actual story? What was the reason?
10
votes
1answer
641 views

Why do grandmasters wear suits at tournaments?

Whenever I see photos of professional chess games, the players are always dressed impeccably and it's uncommon to see someone even missing a jacket. Maybe this is a dumb question, but I don't ...
1
vote
2answers
105 views

Way to Logically Predict Approximate Chess Rating in Pop-Culture Games [closed]

After seeing a video of an analysis on the chess game in A Game of Shadows between Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty, it made me wonder what their fictional ratings would be around. Other games like the ...
44
votes
2answers
8k views

When (if ever) was it a rule that pawn promotion was optional?

I'm reading a very old chess book ("The Chess Pocket Manual" by G.H.D. Gossip, copyright 1894), and I find this passage in it's section on "The Laws of Chess": When a Pawn has reached the eighth ...
3
votes
2answers
199 views

Online or Print Sources for Historical Games

What are the best online or print sources for historical games? I am generally looking for pre-1930s games NOT by world champions, and, in particular, looking for games by some of the prominent women ...
1
vote
1answer
280 views

Why is en passant possibility recorded in FEN regardless of whether there is a pawn ready to make the capture?

If a pawn has just moved two squares ahead, one records the square right behind it in the part of FEN for recording en passant possibility, regardless of whether there is a pawn of the opposite color ...
8
votes
2answers
217 views

Did predecessors of modern chess use dice to determine which piece to move?

According to the Wikipedia article of Magic: The Gathering, creator Dr. Richard Garfield has compared the evolution of the game from luck to skill as being similar to that of chess. According to Dr....
2
votes
3answers
134 views

Specific for Lasker during 1904 Cambridge Springs tournament

I have heard that Emanuel Lasker, during the great historical tournament in 1904 (in Cambridge Springs), had to face some specific which was imposed on him. I am wondering what could be meant by that? ...
0
votes
1answer
113 views

Origin of Blitz

For some time now, blitz (in any of various formats) has been a very popular format of chess. It is obvious that in order to play blitz you need to have a chess clock and these have been around for ...
6
votes
1answer
552 views

What kind of gun is Alekhine's gun?

This question is about chess linguistics. Alekhine's gun is the pattern where the queen is placed behind two rooks. Who came up with the phrase? Is it clear which kind of gun they had in mind? In ...
10
votes
3answers
442 views

How would Chess have been played in England in 1450-1600?

I'm trying to reconstruct how Chess would have been played at various points in history in England, specifically at three points: around 1450, 1530, and 1610. What rules would have been used at these ...
5
votes
1answer
318 views

How was the FIDE rating system introduced?

I am looking for a historical summary on how the first Elo ratings came about. Apparently in the first official rating list from 1971 there are already ratings in the range of 2200 to 2760. What are ...
0
votes
1answer
125 views

Fischer vs Sherwin Game - 1957

In this game Move # 32 Sherwin play Rxh7 and this move makes him loose the game, so why he didn't play Rxf6 ? is this mistake from him? or something i didn't get. [FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/...
11
votes
1answer
3k views

What's the history behind stalemate not being a win? [duplicate]

If your opponent eliminates all your options to move, you don't lose in chess, but is regarded an equal to your opponent. Isn't this peculiar? In most games and in real life hunt and war it is a ...
4
votes
1answer
185 views

Did the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard play chess?

The danish existentialist philosopher Soren Kierkegaard lived from 1813 to 1855. He writes in one of his journals (21st of May 1839): Original Danish Jeg lever i denne Tid omtrent som en Brik ...
3
votes
1answer
79 views

Where can I find lists of best games per tournament?

I would like to obtain a list of best games per tournament (World Chess Championships, Chess World Cup, ...). By "best" I mean games that either have won a brilliancy prize, or games that are ...
4
votes
1answer
226 views

During the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Era, what was the rule for stalemate in France?

Wikipedia has a stalemate history section, but for France it only says: The forfeiture of Black's turn to move (medieval France) (Murray 1913:464–66) (Davidson 1981:64–65), although other medieval ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Why is en passant only possible on the first opportunity?

Quoting FIDE rulebook: This capture is only legal on the move following this advance and is called an ‘en passant’ capture. Quoting Wikipedia: The en passant capture must be made at the very ...
10
votes
2answers
211 views

Who is the youngest player to defeat a reigning World Chess Champion in a classical chess game?

A simple web search doesn't seem to readily give the answer to this question. Who is the youngest player to defeat a reigning World Chess Champion in a classical chess game?
10
votes
1answer
243 views

When did the light-on-the-right convention ascend to dominance?

I came upon the following wonderful painting by Sofonisba Anguissola, ‘The first great woman artist of the renaissance,’ of her sisters playing chess (painted 1555). The painting is truly sublime. ...
7
votes
2answers
358 views

Who was A. Karu? (played Paul Keres)

The first game in Paul Keres' book "The Complete Games of Paul Keres" is a correspondence game against "A. Karu" who is otherwise unidentified. I could find no entry for him in Chess Personalia by ...
2
votes
4answers
189 views

Meaning and origin of 'theory' in 'opening theory'

What precisely does 'opening theory' mean? Generally when I see the word 'theory', I'd expect a conceptual move away from the particular towards the universal. That is, I would expect 'opening theory' ...
1
vote
2answers
195 views

What's the origin of chess?

I have heard numerous times that stated that India was the inventors of the original chess. I have also heard that the origin was in the Middle East. Sometimes I heard that the origin was in Arabia. ...
4
votes
1answer
534 views

Improvement of chess engines over time

Chess engine strength has increased considerably over time due to increase of computer strength, but also improvement in algorithms/parameters. Is there any statistics or graph out there which shows ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

How close was Seirawan to challenging Kasparov?

Growing up in the '80's in the Pacific Northwest (USA), my chess hero naturally was Yasser Seirawan. He was the first top-class GM to emerge from the USA since Fischer and our country's best hope to ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Why do some openings have Indian in their name?

Why are a few chess openings named King's Indian Defense, Queen's Indian Defense, Nimzo-Indian defense, and so on? What is the significance of Indian in all these opening names? What's India's ...
4
votes
1answer
339 views

Did Karpov really only wash his hair when he lost?

At the recent Isle of Mann coverage, the topic of conversation was grandmaster superstitions, during which GM Simon Williams conveyed that Karpov would only wash his hair when he lost a game. ...
1
vote
1answer
99 views

1998 USCF Chess Rankings

Is there a place to look up rankings of USCF players for a previous year? Specifically, I would like to know who was #3 in the USCF in 1998 (for reasons not relevant to the question) - but figured a ...