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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46
votes
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?
20
votes
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 ...
30
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
28
votes
6answers
10k views

Why are there separate tournaments for men and women?

Why are there separate tournaments for men and women? It is obvious that in physical sports men have a huge advantage, but what is the reason why in chess we differentiate by gender?
47
votes
2answers
9k 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 ...
26
votes
8answers
10k views

Is there a “perfect” game?

Is there a historic example of a chess game that has, to date, resisted all computerized attempts to find a better sequence of moves? In other words, a "perfect" game? CLARIFICATION I should have ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

How come chess prodigies seem to start at a young age?

I started looking into the history of a few grandmasters such as Fischer and Carlsen, so I wondered: why does it seem that chess "kings" and queens" start playing the game from a young age? Can anyone ...
17
votes
3answers
5k 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?
13
votes
2answers
29k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
382 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 ...
27
votes
5answers
6k views

Are contemporary chess players now stronger than players in the 90's or 80's?

For example, take a Class A today and Class A from the 90's. Would the contemporary Class A be stronger because of the updates of opening theory or contemporary changes in chess play?
20
votes
6answers
3k 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 -...
16
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
755 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?
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Why does the game end at checkmate and not upon taking the king? [duplicate]

Ever since I was a kid this has felt kind of odd to me. Victory in chess is achieved by "cornering" the king, and not by taking him outright, like what you do to all the other pieces. I always ...
6
votes
1answer
414 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
566 views

Adjusting in ones turn only

There is this touch-move rule which doesnt apply when the player says "Adjust" . Wikipedia says : To adjust the position of a piece on its square without being required to move it. A player ...
15
votes
4answers
692 views

What are openings which were once thought good, but are now shown to be inferior?

Are there any openings that were once often played, but are now known to be very bad moves?
7
votes
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 ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

Has any other Grandmaster gone as long undefeated as Capablanca?

Between 1916 and 1924, future World Champion J.R. Capablanca (as of 1921) experienced a period of eight years without a single (tournament) defeat. He was then regarded as one of the world's best ...
15
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
200 views

Which was the first televised/video-recorded WCC match?

I was thinking about the way that chess has taken to being streamed recently and it got me wondering how far back one could go if they were to watch WCC matches instead of playing through them. So ...
4
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2answers
1k views

Chess study methods / memorisation techniques from before the computer-based SRS era

Some of the other questions on SE discuss the use of spaced repetition systems such as Anki and Mnemosyne to learn tactics, openings and other aspects of chess (see especially Effectiveness of a ...
2
votes
2answers
56 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
187 views

What is the consequence of removing the two-square first move rule?

In this related question I see that en passant and two-square first move for pawns were introduced together between 1200 and 1600. What was the reason for adding these rules? Put another way, has the ...
2
votes
1answer
494 views

Full Footage From 1972 Championship

Since the 1972 chess championship was televised I imagine there must be full footage of all the matches somewhere. I have spent time looking around, but found nothing but short clips of the games. ...