Chess is a two-player board game that is played both recreationally and competitively.

Each player controls sixteen pieces; one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns at the start.

a strategic game of chess

There are many fascinating, entertaining and to an extent pretty surprising facts about the game of chess that you probably didn’t know. Many of them are based on the way the game is played, who plays it, and how it has changed over time.

Let’s take a look at 8 interesting facts about chess.

  1. The “Queen” who is now the most powerful piece on the chessboard could only make one diagonal move originally. Initially known as the “advisor”, the queen was one of the weakest pieces on the board. The “advisor” was replaced with the “queen” and became the most powerful piece on the board only when chess was introduced to Europe and Queen Isabella rose to prominence during the 15th century.
  • The word “checkmate” means the King is dead. Checkmate comes from the Arabic word “shah mat” which when translated means “the king is dead (helpless)”. True chess players shake their hands and say “good game” instead of checkmate.
A checkmate handshake
  • A chess book was the second book that was ever printed in English. The name of the book was ‘The Game and Playe of the Chesse’, it was written by William Caxton and was printed in 1474.
  • Chess is good for the mind and the brain. Alongside other puzzles and games, chess is known as one of the best ways to improve the mind and memory. Chess has been introduced in many schools for young pupils, and patients with Alzheimer’s disease are frequently encouraged to play games in their leisure time. It has been seen to improve school children’s exam scores in some situations, and scientists have been known to contend that chess may genuinely boost intellect levels.
  • Why do chess pieces look the way they do. Chess pieces don’t look like realistic bishops or kings is because before reaching Europe, they had to pass through the Islamic world and Islam forbids making statues of animals and/or people so chess pieces look vague. The pieces didn’t alter much as the game expanded to Christian Europe.
This is how standard chess pieces look
  • The folding chessboard. The first folding chessboard was invented in 1125 by a priest. The game of chess was forbidden by the church at the time, so the priest his board by making it seem like 2 books were lying side-by-side.
  • During the 1700s an inventor known as Wolfgang Von Kempelon invented “the chess-playing machine” called the Turk. It fooled people for 84 years before they realized the equipment was controlled by a person inside.
Turk, the chess playing robot.
  • The longest game of chess. The longest recorded chess game lasted for 269 moves and eventually ended in a draw.

In conclusion, the game of chess is an amazing one of strategy and skill and it takes years to master, but the good news is that we have even more amazing and qualified chess tutors on ubuy services that are willing and ready to tutor you and/or your kids in this mind-stimulating game.

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