Chess, the "game of kings", regained its popularity thanks to the popular
Netflix series "Queen of Gambit". It is one of the oldest intelligence games in
world history. There are many interesting and entertaining facts about the game
of Chess that you probably didn’t know. Today, we’ll share 20 of them with you!
20. Checkmate: The word ‘checkmate’ is derived from the Arabic word
‘shah mat’, which means ‘the king is dead (helpless)’ in English. True
chess players will not say ‘checkmate’ to an opponent but rather simply extend
their hand, shake and say ‘good game’.
19. The 2nd Book printed
in the English language:
The second book in history to be printed in English was about Chess. William
Caxton translated (and then printed) it from French into English in 1474,
2 years before it was published in French by Jean de Vignay.
18. Record-Setting Defeat: An American man named Frank Marshall was
the first ever to defeat a Soviet player in an international chess tournament
back in 1924 in New York City. He was the reigning Unites States champion for
about 30 years and went on to defend his title when he defeated Ed
Lasker in 1923. He was the first chess master to play more than 100 games
17. Knight’s Tour: The number of possibilities for achieving
‘Knight’s Tour’ are about
122 million! Knight’s tour is a sequence of chess moves involving the knight
pawn whereby the piece visits every square on the board only once.
16. Most Versatile Chess Master: The only chess master to win the
world championship in all three formats, including knockout, tournament, and
match, is a man from India named Vishwanathan Anand. Later, Magnus Carlson
of Norway would go on to defeat Anand in 2013.
15. Epic Fail: The worst performance record by a competitive chess
player is currently held by a Scottish-Canadian named Nicholas McLeod of
Quebec, who lost 31 games in the double-round robin in New York in 1889! He was
also the only player to beat Emanuel Lasker at the height of his chess career
14. Rookies: First-year chess players are called ‘rookies’, which is
what we now call the new recruits to the
military, police force, sports teams, etc. The name was derived from the last
pawns to move in a chess game known as ‘rooks’.
13. Longest Reign as a World Champion: A German doctor by the name
of Emanuel Lasker held the title of World Chess Champion for the
longest time, about 27 years from 1894 to 1920. This is the longest reign of an
officially recognized chess champion in recorded history!
12. New Move: The newest chess move in which the pawn can move two
steps instead of one at the start was introduced back in 1280 in
Spain. This move is known as ‘en passant’ in French and means ‘in
11. Russia, the
Chess Nation: Russia dominates the game and has more grandmasters than all
other countries! The nation has more than 250 grandmasters!
10. King’s Game: Chess was initially known as the ‘Game of Kings’ in
India where it originated, since it was initially played by royalty centuries
ago. The game was a common pastime of monarchs and nobles in the 12th century
and even named its playing pieces (pawns) after royal or honored positions,
including knight, king, queen, and bishop.
9. Fool’s Mate Runs: The minimum amount of moves to accomplish a
checkmate is two and is referred to as ‘Fool’s Mate Runs’ or ‘Two-Move
Checkmate’. This can only be achieved by Black on the second move 2 with the queen and is
the fewest number of moves possible from start to finish in a single game.
8. Blindfolded Chess: Blindfolded
Chess is an impressive skill that most strong players possess. It requires the
ability to ‘see’ the board clearly in the mind, which becomes very difficult
after many moves. Several grandmasters have achieved
impressive results while playing about 50 games simultaneously.
7. Youngest Champion: In 1985, Garry Kasparov (a writer,
and chess player) from the Soviet Union became the youngest world chess
champion to date. He was only 22 years old at the time. He is often considered
to be the best chess player of all time!
6. The First Board: The first modern chessboard was created in
Europe back in 1090. It had alternating light and dark squares, similar to the
way it appears on modern game boards today.
5. Deep Thought: A computer known as ‘Deep Thought’ became the first
of its kind to beat an international champion at Chess in November of 1988 in
Long Beach, California. It was created by Feng-Hsiung Hsu and developed at
Carnegie Mellon University. It was later improved upon at IBM.
4. First Computer Chess Program: In 1951, Alan Turing created the
very first computer program for playing Chess. No computer at the time was
advanced enough to process it so Turing tested it himself, doing calculations
by hand and then playing each move according to the results. This took
significant time and intense dedication on his part.
3. Billions of Possibilities: The number of different play
combinations for the first four moves in the game of Chess is about 319
billion. This is an astounding number, to say the least! There is no game
in history that can remotely compare.
2. The Longest Possible Game: The longest game of Chess
can last about 5,900 moves based on the various movement combinations. This is
the maximum number of moves that a game can continue without a player claiming
a draw. There are over 1,000 different opening possibilities alone!
1. Larger Than Life: The number of potential chess games
is vaster than all the estimated atoms in the universe combined!
That’s about 10^80 whereas the number of different chess game possibilities is