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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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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3 votes
1 answer
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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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12 votes
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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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36 votes
1 answer
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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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12 votes
3 answers
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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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6 votes
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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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4 votes
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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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6 votes
1 answer
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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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1 vote
1 answer
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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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6 votes
1 answer
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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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2 votes
2 answers
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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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2 votes
1 answer
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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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7 votes
1 answer
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"Back story" of the pieces legal moves

An acquaintance whose family was from Turkey, told me that the pieces move the way do based on ideas about Persian warfare. Moving in a rank or file was considered earthly, and moving diagonal was ...
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Why is it called a draw? [closed]

There's no information as to why it's called a draw. Some of my students start to take out a pencil and paper and literally draw in the middle of the game. Why is it called a draw?
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5 votes
2 answers
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Did any other language than English ever use Descriptive notation? Which languages have always used Algebraic?

Descriptive notation seems to be limited to certain languages like English, and I found a Wikipedia article that mentions Spanish and French. I have never seen a Russian book that uses Descriptive, ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Franci de Castellvi - Narcis Vinyoles 18. ... Qg6??, a blunder by black?

[Site "Valencia"] [Date "1475"] [White "Franci de Castellvi"] [Black "Narcis Vinyoles"] [Result "1-0"] [startply "36"] [FEN ""] 1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qd8 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. h3 ...
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3 votes
0 answers
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Where to find cross table for 1956 Thanksgiving weekend Eastern Open?

Berliner won this tournament. Chess life/review reported it. Newspapers reported it. The Eastern Open in 1956 was Thanksgiving weekend in the YMCA in DC. Berliner won it. Rossolimo, Lombardy, ...
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9 votes
2 answers
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What happened to the WCC?

Just found this rating list below while looking for other items. I vaguely remember hearing about WCC. What happened to them? All I find now for WCC is 'world chess championship'. Apparently they both ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
396 views

Fixed games in chess-is it real or just a conspiracy theory? If real, how bad is it?

One famous case of fixed chess games is the Keres vs. Botvinnik World Championship 1948. I ran across this example while looking for other such chess games from history. It is known that Stalin was ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Who did Kasparov call a talented amateur?

I heard that Kasparov called some strong player a talented amateur? Who was that? Thanks.
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30 votes
3 answers
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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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2 votes
0 answers
93 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 ...
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9 answers
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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 ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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How bad of a chess player was Alan Turing?

It is interesting that Turing worked with some of the best British chess players among them Golombek and Alexander. I am not sure how to characterize it, but he is considered a creative genius at a ...
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3 answers
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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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14 votes
5 answers
7k 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. ...
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7 votes
2 answers
839 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 ...
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15 votes
4 answers
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Did Fischer really have a 180 IQ?

I have read many times that Bobby Fischer had an IQ of 180. Did he really have that high of an IQ? Does anyone have proof that he was ever even tested (like a citation from an early book about him)? ...
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14 votes
3 answers
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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. (...
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10 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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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 incorrect! Is there a ...
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3 votes
3 answers
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What is it about Soviet born players that makes them winners in the brutal 128-player knockout format of the World Cup?

Teimour Radjabov has just won the World Cup. The first two FIDE World Cups, in 2000 and 2002 had 4 groups of 6 players with the 2 group winners going into an 8-player knockout. They were both won by ...
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3 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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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?
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4 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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2 votes
2 answers
224 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 ...
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28 votes
4 answers
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What does this chess proverb mean?

"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 ...
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19 votes
5 answers
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 ...
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19 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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3 votes
2 answers
252 views

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

I remember seeing a particular chess problem awhile ago on YouTube, but I can't find it. The problem's theme was something about caging in the Turkish king, and the video mentioned it as being old. ...
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8 votes
1 answer
428 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 ...
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8 votes
1 answer
514 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 ...
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