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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Is there a good book on the 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine world championship match?

To disambiguate what I mean by the shorthand "good" in the question's title: Is there an English-language book that tells the story of the 1927 world championship match between Capablanca and ...
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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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Source of this chess problem?

[FEN "8/8/8/6pp/6pk/R7/6KP/8 w - - 0 1"] 1. Rh3+ gxh3+ 2. Kf3 g4+ 3. Kf4 g3 4. hxg3# 1-0 What is the source of this simple chess problem (White to mate in four) which somebody showed me at a chess ...
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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 ...
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Who is the youngest player to defeat a reigning World Chess Champion in a classical chess game?

A simple web search doesn't seem to readily give the answer to this question. Who is the youngest player to defeat a reigning World Chess Champion in a classical chess game?
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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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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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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: ...
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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 - - ...
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What chess *scoring* alternatives exist?

Chess (often being classified as a sport) stands almost alone among sports in that its results are of a strictly ternary nature that is not quantified any further: The only possible outcomes are a win,...
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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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THE longest problem ever (much longer than the mere 549 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 ...
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What's the history behind stalemate not being a win? [duplicate]

If your opponent eliminates all your options to move, you don't lose in chess, but is regarded an equal to your opponent. Isn't this peculiar? In most games and in real life hunt and war it is a ...
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What is the origin of descriptive notation?

Algebraic Notation is the modern standard for recording chess games. It is easily human-readable, yet it can be parsed by computers without difficulty. Descriptive notation predates algebraic ...
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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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Why are the symbols 0-0 and 0-0-0 used for castling in algebraic notation?

I'm curious about why the symbols O-O and O-O-O are used for castling in algebraic notation. Why not use the consistent and logical Kg1/Kc1 for White and Kg8/Kc8 for Black? Why adopt the less than ...
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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 ...
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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....
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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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Did it make sense for Lasker to play the Exchange variation of the Ruy Lopez in 1914?

In 1914, world champion Emanuel Lasker was trailing future world champion J.R. Capablanca in a tournament, meaning that he needed to win, not just draw, against Capablanca. He played the exchange ...
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The Historical Comparison of Players

Arpad Elo described (chess life 1962) his ratings as "the measurement of the position of a cork bobbing up and down on the surface of agitated water with a yard stick tied to a rope and which ...
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About Alan Turing and chess

I read Turing had some algorithm or method he could use to play chess 'against' this pen and paper algorithm assigning certain numerical values to each piece. Is this true? Is there a pen and paper ...
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Why do grandmasters wear suits at tournaments?

Whenever I see photos of professional chess games, the players are always dressed impeccably and it's uncommon to see someone even missing a jacket. Maybe this is a dumb question, but I don't ...
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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 ...
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When did the light-on-the-right convention ascend to dominance?

I came upon the following wonderful painting by Sofonisba Anguissola, ‘The first great woman artist of the renaissance,’ of her sisters playing chess (painted 1555). The painting is truly sublime. ...
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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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Why is the FIDE name in French?

I noticed that FIDE stands for " Fédération Internationale des Échecs". Shouldn't it be in English as 'World Chess Federation'? I noticed, though unrelated, that it is the same for SI Units (System ...
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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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Why was the founder of chess killed?

I have heard from many a story in which a man who introduced the game of chess was hanged or killed by his king. What was the actual story and the the reason for killing the founder of chess?
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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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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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How close was Seirawan to challenging Kasparov?

Growing up in the '80's in the Pacific Northwest (USA), my chess hero naturally was Yasser Seirawan. He was the first top-class GM to emerge from the USA since Fischer and our country's best hope 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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Has the Soviet movie “Grandmaster” ever been translated into English?

I am looking for audio or subtitle English translation of this 1973 movie by director Sergey Mikaelyan. Does anyone know if that is available anywhere?
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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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Why did Spassky play the King's Gambit?

If the King's Gambit is unsound, how could a world champion play it often?
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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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What was the first chess-playing automaton?

One well-known automaton is The Turk. What is the first one and when was it constructed, including fake ones? [1]:
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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?
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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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Which 20th century grandmster had the highest draw percentage in their career?

The title says it all. I am looking to learn and adopt a play style which does not necessarily win, but is typified as being incredibly difficult to actually win against, hence why I wish to know who ...
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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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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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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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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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Who was the last Indian player to beat Vishy, and when?

The question came to mind following today's game between Vishy (Viswanathan Anand) and the young Raunak Sadhwani at the Isle of Man 2018 Tournament. Has Vishy been beaten by an Indian player since, ...
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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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Which is the oldest chess game?

Chess has more than 1000 years of existence and the pieces got their modern day movements in 15th century Spain. But which is the oldest chess game of which we know the moves?
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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 ...
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Who was A. Karu? (played Paul Keres)

The first game in Paul Keres' book "The Complete Games of Paul Keres" is a correspondence game against "A. Karu" who is otherwise unidentified. I could find no entry for him in Chess Personalia by ...