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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.

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11
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1answer
3k views

Who did Kasparov call a talented amateur?

I heard that Kasparov called some strong player a talented amateur? Who was that? Thanks.
8
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5answers
3k views

Why are there 64 squares on a chessboard?

My question is, why not 36, 49, 81 or some other square number? Do any historical sources point to how and why chess came to be played on 64 squares in particular? Has it always been so?
25
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2answers
5k views

Why wasn’t Rashid Nezhmetdinov a Grandmaster?

He won the Russian championship 5 times, so why wasn’t he a GM?
2
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2answers
55 views

Old versions of FIDE laws of chess? [duplicate]

Is it possible to view or obtain old versions of the FIDE Laws of Chess? I would like to trace the history of when various rules were added or modified. The FIDE handbook only goes back as far as ...
17
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7answers
3k views

How can someone find their Morphy number?

The Morphy number is a measure of how closely a chess player is connected to Paul Morphy (1837–1884) by way of playing chess games. It's analogous to the Erdős Number for mathematicians. People who ...
4
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1answer
173 views

How bad a chess player was Alan Turing?

It is interesting that while Turing is considered a creative genius at a level I am not sure how to characterize but he was certainly very important and successful in the code-breaking efforts during ...
14
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10answers
17k 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 ...
6
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2answers
352 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 ...
14
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5answers
5k views

Why have engines not increased top rated chess players' Elo?

The arrival of strong chess engines as Stockfish, Houdini or Rybka allow top players to deeply prepare lines in openings or to study better endgames. I would expect a rating increase of top players. ...
10
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3answers
996 views

Why are there no more adjournments?

I keep reading about adjournments in books, but why don't we use them anymore? They seem like cool analysis sessions.
9
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2answers
131 views

Nationality of the Azerbaijan Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Teimour Radjabov

I hope this kind of question is allowed. In any case, I want to clarify that there is no intention for racism or political arguments, etc. It is just a sincere wonder from the anthropological point of ...
20
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1answer
8k 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 ...
2
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3answers
71 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 ...
1
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4answers
165 views

The exsistence of IBM’s Deep Blue

How would IBM’s Deep Blue fair against modern day champions like Carlsen? Was it decommissioned after Kasparov's game?
11
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3answers
7k views

Was playing with both hands ever allowed in chess?

I was watching this video on Youtube of an Armageddon game between Vladimir Kramnik and Garry Kasparov which happened in 1995. It can be seen that Kasparov is using both of his hands for some moves. (...
8
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5answers
2k views

Why did Spassky play the King's Gambit?

If the King's Gambit is unsound, how could a world champion play it often?
7
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1answer
1k views

Queen with Knight capabilities

I find it interesting that the Queen can move with the same capabilities as the Rook and the Bishop, but cannot 'jump' or move like the Knight, I understand that this would overpower the queen but ...
1
vote
1answer
177 views

Is there any better play than the 3-move mate?

I know how to cause a checkmate in three moves. Are there any better ones? I've been told that there is a two move one but, I have never found someone who can do it. Is it just a legend that has ...
6
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3answers
281 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.
8
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1answer
249 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
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2answers
185 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 ...
4
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2answers
198 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 ...
7
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5answers
2k 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 ...
14
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2answers
559 views

Earliest text which mentions the 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 ...
11
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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: ...
4
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2answers
91 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
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2answers
204 views

Professional match where neither player castles?

Are there any professional matches from serious players where neither player castles during the course of the game?
11
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2answers
621 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 - - ...
2
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2answers
150 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 ...
13
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1answer
599 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 ...
46
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10answers
31k 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?
25
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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 ...
18
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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 ...
11
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2answers
624 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 ...
18
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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 ...
6
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1answer
297 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
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1answer
217 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 ...
7
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2answers
178 views

Women in Chess - First women-only event.

What was the first women-only event held in Chess history?
10
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3answers
448 views

Where can I find Pauls' 1874 article on the n-queens problem?

Where can I find the following article, which concerns the n-queens problem? E. Pauls, Das Maximalproblem der Damen auf dem Schachbrete, II, Deutsche Schachzeitung. Organ f¨ur das Gesammte ...
3
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2answers
181 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 ...
13
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6answers
724 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 ...
8
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2answers
303 views

Where did this Emanuel Lasker quote come from?

In the book by the late master Irving Chernev "The Chess Companion" he gives a list of chess quotes. My favourite one was: "The student can learn more in ten hours of properly tutored instruction ...
8
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3answers
1k 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 ...
8
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2answers
226 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....
26
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7answers
4k 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 seen/...
2
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1answer
180 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 ...
10
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3answers
456 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 ...
-3
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1answer
158 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
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2answers
175 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
141 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 ...