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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Seeking a transcript of Hope vs. Fischer, 1972

On one of Bob Hope's television specials in 1972, Bobby Fischer appeared with him in a skit about himself (Fischer). The two also sat down at a board and sort-of played a game. (The moves were not all ...
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223 views

Historical motivation for the 1200-1800ish rating average

Although there is some variation in rating systems (in chess), most systems put the starting value and the mean of all users somewhere around 1500. Some pools are higher, some are lower, but most have ...
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Is Beth Harmon behaviour in her game vs Georgi Girev acceptable (then and now)?

In S01E04 of the TV series The Queen's Gambit, the main protagonist (Beth Harmon) is competing against a young Russian player (Georgi Girev). This happens in 1966. Following an adjournment, Beth ...
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Why Chess960 and not Chess959?

This question asks if Chess960 is really Chess960 and not Chess959, i.e. the dice are really not re-rolled (positive, instead of normative). The answer is yes, it really is. However, why is Chess960 ...
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How was the Candidate chosen for 1927, and why not sooner?

Wikipedia has a tiny article for the 1927 World Chess Championship. For the World Chess Championship article in general, it has very little to say about the 1927 one: Following the controversies ...
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In which article did Nigel Short retract from having played online vs Fischer?

I read a recent tweet by Nigel Short mentioning his retraction, but I can't find it.
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What is the origin of chess clubs?

In the first pages of Philidor's 1777 edition of Analyse du jeu des échecs (Analysis of chess games) there is a list of subscribers, some of whom are "Members of the Chess Club". They ...
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What is the legend of Ossip Bernstein, who supposedly played chess to save his life?

Wikipedia article reads as following: A famous story goes that in 1918, after the October Revolution, Bernstein was arrested in Odessa by the Cheka (Bolshevik secret police). He was ordered to be ...
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Which countries have (or had) chess as a compulsory component of their national curricula?

The only country I know of that definitely has chess as a compulsory subject on its national curriculum is Armenia. Are there any others? I think Paraguay may be one. Please take "national ...
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284 views

What's the oldest age at which a grandmaster played their first rated game?

Of all grandmasters past and present, what is the oldest age at which any of them started playing chess? Define started playing chess: The day that person played their first (FIDE, or equivalent) ...
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Famous grandmaster games of “torturous” winning or flaunting out of arrogance?

I was originally wondering why we don't see more torturous type of games among masters. For example, instead of proceeding to checkmate, the player in control methodically takes all pieces of his ...
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Who is Yuri Dojoian, Kasparov's analyst in the 90s?

Long time ago I read about this strong GM who was one of Kasparov's analysts in the 90s. The thing is that if I search by "Yuri Dojoian" I only get a few results, only in Spanish media, like ...
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Looking for a PDF of the British Chess Magazine, Sep. 1907

I am looking for a PDF copy of British Chess Magazine dated September 1907 which contains an analysis of a game between Neustadtl and Porges.
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Did Maria Teresa Mora Iturralde beat Capablanca 2.5-0.5?

(Possibly better suited on the Skeptics SE, but the claim is completely related to chess) In 1922, she exceeded all expectations. Maria Theresa became the only woman to ever to have competed with men ...
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Timeline of key historical changes to FIDE Laws & WFCC Codex?

A well-answered question here: FIDE Laws of Chess pre-2017 asks for locations of historical sets of FIDE Laws. I am asking for something which partially builds on that. Is there a timeline of "...
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Can I play chaturanga on any of the main chess sites?

Inspired by this question What rules are known for Chaturanga? Chaturanga seems quite interesting, and some aspects of it, like no castling are being introduced in other variants: Kramnik's chess. ...
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What rules are known for Chaturanga?

In the ancient Indian game Chaturanga, what rules are known, and how does it vary from modern chess? Also, is it a solved game?
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Where does the expression “checkmate” come from?

While watching The Queen's Gambit my partner asked me: why do they say "checkmate"? But she wanted to know what is the origin of this expression, not its meaning. And I realized I didn't ...
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How old was Judit Polgar when she learned to play chess?

I found a few publicly accessible biographies of Judit Polgar, including details of her early life. According to the biography on Judit’s website, she was 9 when she first won an international chess ...
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Controversy over the Xiangqi cannon piece?

When reviewing the nature of the pieces of various chess variants, namely the xiangqi cannon, I asked about its history. I was surprised that the dates of its mentions did not match 8th century ...
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Does the new Netflix series “The Queen's Gambit” resemble any real life chess master?

Recently, a Netflix series has been launched entitled The Queen's Gambit which surely created a lot of hype in the chess community. Does the protagonist Beth Harmon resemble anyone (fully or partially)...
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What defines the name of a gambit?

What defines the name of a gambit? To be obvious, if someone were to use a gambit often (of their own theory), you would name that gambit after them or so, right (like the Ruy Lopez opening)? How then ...
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In “The Queen's gambit” were there any famous games played?

Throughout "The Queen's Gambit" (Netflix) we see games at an advanced stage (after the opening). And while the characters are fictitious, the show being set in the 1960s (Beth adult), Benny ...
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Why the initial rating of FIDE is calculated that strangely?

Let suppose an unrated player plays a FIDE rated swiss tournament where its opponent's ratings are e.g. 1300,2000,2100,2200,2300 and wins all of them, then his initial rating will be 2100 according to ...
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When has the FIDE rule against bringing the game into disrepute been invoked (if ever)?

In the current FIDE Laws of Chess article 11.1 says: 11.1 The players shall take no action that will bring the game of chess into disrepute. I have heard elderly arbiters fulminating about some ...
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What is Indian Castling exactly?

Western castling doesn’t exist in historical Indian Chess (Chaturanga). Instead, in some versions, there is a cool move whereby each king can once in the game make a knight's move. I read that it is ...
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Double Grob-Coca-cola Gambit?

I was using the opening explorer on Chess.com when I came upon the following line 1.g4 g5 2. f4 (Coca-cola gambit)!? How did this opening get its name? It sounds like Coca-cola walked up to Fide and ...
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When did Bobby Fischer move from New York to California?

As title above, when did Bobby Fischer move from Brooklyn, New York, to California, where did he actually locate, and why did he leave New York?
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Most recent “best in world” player who would be defeated by a CM

Of the chess players who could reasonably be considered the best in the world in at least one year in history, how far back would you have to go before one of them would lose to a 2020 Candidate ...
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What is the name or origin of this opening for Black?

I was playing online, and I noticed some players go for this opening and I don't know its name or if it's a move order to another opening for Black. [fen ""] 1. d4 g6 2. c4 Bg7 3. Nc3 c6 4. ...
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Who was the first modern grandmaster?

According to Wikipedia, the modern system for awarding FIDE titles evolved from the "Dorazil" proposals, presented to the 1970 Siegen Chess Olympiad FIDE Congress. On the same Wikipedia page ...
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East and West German Chess

Interested in chess history, I wonder if there is an accessible data set that lists all players from East and West Germany in the 80's, ideally with information like the FIDE website (name, national ...
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Examples of Debunked Problems [duplicate]

Are there any problems that have solutions which have been debunked?
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Games won by the stalemated player?

Here is a quote from Davidson's "A short history of chess" (Link), chapter 8, which I used in an answer to an earlier question. [...] In Italy, however, from the very beginning, players ...
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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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Why Rashid Nezhmetdinov didn't achieve a grandmaster title? [duplicate]

Rashid Nezhmetdinov is one of the greatest chess player of all time. He destroyed Mikhail Tal many times. I know he was a great attacker but Tal also a great attacker. But why Rashid did not succeed ...
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How did classic masters like Alekhine and Anderssen practice tactics?

How did classic masters like Alekhine and Anderssen practice tactics? Surely there was no chess.com or chesstempo at that time. How did the masters back then manage to increase their tactical ...
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Have any top players intentionally thrown a game for tournament reasons?

I'm thinking something similar to Women's Badminton at the 2012 Olympics. There, some pairs actively attempted to lose their games to gain a more favorable draw in the next round. Has anything like ...
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Who were the first GMs, and how did they become GMs?

In order to qualify for the title of Grandmaster, a player must achieve three Grandmaster norms. This is not the place to go into detail about what those are; the pertinent point is that norms can ...
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Unknown Women International Masters

I am interested in the history of chess and, looking at the old FIDE rankings, I am a little puzzled by the lack of information about some strong Women International Masters, with a FIDE rating above ...
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What did R.H.M. stand for?

I have a number of old chess books published by R.H.M. Press. I am curious as to whether "R.H.M." are the initials of something or someone, and if so, what? As I understand it, R.H.M. Press was the ...
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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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Three Pieces in the Attack

As a kid, my coach, an International Master, was repeating "if you have three pieces or more in the attack you can sacrifice without thinking!" However, don't take this rule too literally! Chess is ...
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Looking for an opening that had been wrongly evaluated for years

I'm looking for an opening I saw in a book (not a chess book). The opening was about 10 moves long, and the author stated that the evaluation after the last move shown had been considered for many ...
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Is Gilbert Guerrero a 2500 US player?

According to the FIDE website, Gilbert Guerrero is from the US federation and 2500 Elo. I have never heard of this player, who mates GM Campora in ... 11 moves! Here is the game from Chessgames.com ...
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The Evolution of the K-Factor

The change in Elo ratings depends, among other things, on the K-factor (or development coefficient). Current rules FIDE Rating Regulations effective from 1 July 2017 give the following values: K = ...
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What is the origin, or a early appearance, of this famous chess tale?

There is a story I have found across the Internet of an endgame between two players, usually named as Capablanca versus an extraterrestrial of some sort. According to the Spanish chess Wikipedia, the ...
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How many grandmasters have been stripped of their titles?

How many grandmasters have been stripped of their grandmaster titles? I heard about a GM in the bathroom who had his taken away, and was wondering what other circumstances have resulted in a GM losing ...
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Bela Berger and Blindfold Chess: What do players “see” on the board?

I was looking at the interesting career of Bela Berger. On this oral history site, Bela Berger talks in an interview. Here is a quote from the site: "Berger, international chess master, speaks ...
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What is the “Gufeld Bishop”?

I have another question I am going to ask and answer. The other day, I was watching a chess24 video, and GM Jan Gustafsson mentioned the “Gufeld Bishop”. What is the “Gufeld Bishop”?

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