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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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?
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22 votes
1 answer
17k 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 ...
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36 votes
3 answers
20k 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 ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
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List of records for youngest female international masters since 1950? [duplicate]

Note: I really mean female IMs and not WIMs All IM version: List of records for youngest international masters since 1950? WIM version: List of records for youngest WIMs (woman international masters) ...
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4 votes
1 answer
1k views

List of female chess players by peak FIDE rating

Update: The answer currently doesn't include countries and other trivia like in the original one. Please consider posting an answer with at least the countries or editing current answer to include ...
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-6 votes
3 answers
376 views

How do I find data to determine records like the youngest person to obtain a certain title?

A. Background: Under Mobeus Zoom's suggestion here: List of records for youngest superGMs since 1950? (or 1970 or whenever FIDE started rating people. or basically after 2700s after Fischer) (this is ...
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1 vote
2 answers
343 views

List of female chess players by peak FIDE rating with countries?

same question as here but with countries please. hopefully we can have a list as close to the original wiki page as possible. I'll start: 1 - Hungary - Judit Polgar - 2735 - 2005-07 - 1976 - N/A - ...
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61 votes
2 answers
15k 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 ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
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List of records for youngest female grandmasters since 1950?

On Wiki, we have a list for List of youngest grandmasters since 1950. What about female GMs (really female GMs and not WGMs) instead of GMs? I guess the list ends with Judit Polgar, Koneru Humpy and ...
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30 votes
3 answers
9k views

Why wasn’t Rashid Nezhmetdinov a grandmaster?

He won the Russian championship 5 times, so why wasn’t he a grandmaster?
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30 votes
6 answers
11k 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?
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24 votes
3 answers
7k 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 ...
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2 votes
1 answer
534 views

List of chess players by their peak FIDE rapid rating

Similar to these: List of female chess players by peak FIDE rating List of female chess players by peak FIDE rating with countries? List of chess players by their peak FIDE blitz rating List of ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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List of female chess players by their peak FIDE blitz rating

Similar to these: List of female chess players by peak FIDE rating List of female chess players by peak FIDE rating with countries? List of chess players by their peak FIDE blitz rating List of ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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List of records for youngest WFMs (woman FIDE masters) since 1950 (or whenever)? [duplicate]

On Wiki, we have the List of youngest grandmasters since 1950. What about WFMs (woman FIDE masters) instead of GMs? Note 1: I really mean to ask about WFMs (females who obtain the female exclusive ...
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25 votes
8 answers
17k 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 ...
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18 votes
2 answers
3k 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 ...
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26 votes
7 answers
4k 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 -...
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29 votes
2 answers
5k views

Was there ever a time when the goal in chess was to capture the king?

The modern rules of chess, except for the stalemating being a draw, are basically equivalent to a game in which the goal is just to capture the king, not checkmate him. It's plausible that in the ...
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4 votes
3 answers
353 views

What is the origin of the chess pieces' movements?

Why do pieces move the way they do? Was there any reason behind the decision in the early history of chess? This Quora post for example mentions (no citations): Queen can give directions. And she can ...
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24 votes
3 answers
9k views

How did castling originate?

Castling to me has always 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?
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15 votes
2 answers
42k 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 ...
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8 votes
1 answer
599 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 ...
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-4 votes
2 answers
351 views

List of records for youngest WCMs (woman candidate masters) since 1950? [duplicate]

Re the close: If it was really a duplicate then why didn't Brian Towers♦ answer on the other post? Checkmate! On Wiki, we have the List of youngest grandmasters since 1950. What about WCMs (woman ...
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32 votes
7 answers
6k 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/...
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31 votes
7 answers
7k views

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

For example, take a Class A (a player with a USCF rating of between 1800 and 1999 inclusive) today and Class A from the 90's. Would the contemporary Class A be stronger because of the updates of ...
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36 votes
1 answer
8k views

When was it possible for a player's king to be attacked by 3 of the opponent's pieces?

According to the current FIDE Laws of Chess: 3.9.1 The king is said to be 'in check' if it is attacked by one or more of the opponent's pieces, even if such pieces are constrained from moving to ...
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22 votes
2 answers
4k views

Has there been any blunders in resignation?

We know that despite what is shown in the movies and such, most chess games don't end by a "checkmate" move and oftentimes one side realizes that they are losing and resigns before the end. ...
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  • 483
36 votes
8 answers
30k views

Who did Nigel Short really play on the ICC in 2001 when he thought he was playing Fischer?

In 2001, Nigel Short went public with the opinion that he had in fact played Bobby Fischer on the Internet Chess Club. This was denied by Fischer himself, and the consensus seems to be that it was not ...
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14 votes
10 answers
20k 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 ...
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  • 251
12 votes
4 answers
1k 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?
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9 votes
1 answer
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 ...
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  • 799
6 votes
1 answer
502 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 ...
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  • 1,374
4 votes
3 answers
821 views

Adjusting in one's turn only

There is this touch-move rule which doesn't 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 ...
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16 votes
3 answers
3k 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 ...
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  • 1,677
15 votes
4 answers
864 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?
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14 votes
1 answer
2k 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?
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  • 295
13 votes
2 answers
6k views

Why did Bobby Fischer resign his title?

I was wondering about this question for a while. Why did Bobby Fischer resign his title?
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9 votes
3 answers
5k views

Has any other grandmaster gone as long undefeated like 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 ...
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8 votes
5 answers
3k 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 ...
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  • 731
5 votes
1 answer
293 views

Who was, or is, the oldest WGM?

It is well known that (concerning GMs only) Lilienthal set a record - he died 3 days after his 99th birthday. Yuri Averbakh has since surpassed him and may well be the first 100 year old GM. What ...
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5 votes
1 answer
360 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 ...
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21 votes
6 answers
10k 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 ...
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  • 711
10 votes
3 answers
3k 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.
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9 votes
1 answer
2k views

What were Fischer's 179 demands for a World Championship rematch?

According to this video (at 4:25), Bobby Fischer made 179 demands for a rematch for a World Championship, after he won the title. What were those 179 demands?
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9 votes
5 answers
4k views

Who are the seconds of famous players?

Can anyone provide lists of seconds of famous players? They can contain the names of people that work/worked with top players for a long period or for a particular match/tournament. Besides the names ...
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  • 5,438
8 votes
2 answers
355 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 ...
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  • 3,186
8 votes
0 answers
145 views

Black beginning (specifically, the Immortal)

By CPT (or better: the Chess version thereof) if a game is opened by Black, you can transpose it to the standard version (by swapping board, colors and move rights) and there is no visible difference. ...
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5 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
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  • 1,074
3 votes
2 answers
301 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 ...
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