25 Chess Facts That Might Just Make You A Grandmaster

Posted by , Updated on July 20, 2015

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So you want to be a Grandmaster? Then let’s be honest, you will probably need more than this list to accomplish your goal. Nevertheless, chess is arguably the most famous strategy game on the planet with a very rich and long history and as such, a very interesting subject to familiarize yourself with. It is estimated that more than 700 million people around the world play chess while many scientists insist that its effects on the human mind and its psychology are significantly valuable. Are you ready to learn more about this fascinating game (and start the journey towards Grandmasterhood)? Then check out these 25 Chess Facts That Might Just Make You A Grandmaster.

25

Chess originated in India during the Gupta Empire (almost 1,400 years ago), and from there it spread to the Persian Sassanid Empire, and then to the Middle East after Muslims conquered Persia. From there, it spread to Europe and Russia.

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.orgSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.org
24

The pawn move that advances the piece two squares on its first move instead of one was first introduced in Spain in 1280.

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.orgSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.org
23

The Chinese emperor Wen-ti executed two foreign chess players after learning that one of the pieces was called “Emperor.” He was upset that his title of emperor could be associated with a mere game and so he forbid it.

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.orgSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.org
22

The first mention of chess in America occurred in 1641 in Esther Singleton’s history of the Dutch settlers. The first American chess tournament was held in New York in 1843.

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.orgSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.org
21

The longest recorded time for a chess player to make a move goes to the International Grand Master Trois from Brazil with two hours and twenty minutes on the seventh move.

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: www.geograph.org.ukSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: www.geograph.org.uk

20

The first chess game that took place between astronauts in space and someone on Earth was played on June 9, 1970, by the Soyez-9 crew. The game ended in a draw.

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: commons.wikimedia.orgSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: commons.wikimedia.org
19

Originally, the queen could only move one square at a time, diagonally. Later, she could move two squares at a time, diagonally. It wasn’t until Spain and Queen Isabella rose to power that the queen became the strongest piece on the board.

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.orgSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.org
18

The oldest recorded chess game in history is from the 900s, between a historian from Baghdad and his student.

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.orgSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.org
17

Legendary computer scientist Alan Turing developed the first computer program for playing chess in 1951. However, no computer was powerful enough to process it, so Turing tested it by doing the calculations himself and playing according to the results, taking several minutes per move.

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.orgSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.org
16

A computer called Deep Thought became the first computer to beat an international grandmaster in November 1988, in Long Beach, California. However, the computer Deep Blue was the first machine to overcome a reigning World Chess Champion in a match, when it defeated Garry Kasparov in 1997.

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: commons.wikimedia.orgSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: commons.wikimedia.org
15

The oldest surviving complete chess sets were found on the Isle of Lewis, in northern Scotland, and date to the twelfth century. They were probably made in Iceland or Norway, and their form was used in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the wizard chess pieces.

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: flickr.com, Photo by Karen RoeSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: flickr.com, Photo by Karen Roe
14

Dr. Emanuel Lasker from Germany retained the title World Chess Champion longer than any other player in history: twenty-six years and 337 days, from 1894 to 1921.

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.orgSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.org
13

The second book ever printed in the English language was about chess. The first was a collection of stories about the Trojan War.

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.orgSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.org
12

In 1561 Ruy Lopez de Segura, a Spanish priest, wrote a book whose translation is Book of liberal invention and the art of the game of chess. It was the first complete study of the game. The Ruy Lopez opening is named after him as he was the first to analyze it in detail.

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: de.wikipedia.orgSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: de.wikipedia.org
11

Chess is often cited by psychologists as an effective way to improve memory function. As chess also allows the mind to solve complex problems and work through ideas. It is no wonder it is recommended in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: commons.wikimedia.orgSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: commons.wikimedia.org
10

The word checkmate comes from the Persian phrase Shah Mat, which is often translated as “the king is dead,” although it may be more accurate to say, “the king is trapped” or “the king is without escape.”

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: flickr.com, Photo by John VetterliSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: flickr.com, Photo by John Vetterli
9

During the 1972 Fischer-Spassky match in Rekjavik, the Russians suspected Spassky’s erratic play had to do with Fischer’s chair. The Icelandic organization put a twenty-four-hour police guard around the chair while chemical and X-ray tests were performed on the chair but nothing unusual was found.

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.orgSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.org
8

At age seven Alekhine Nouri became the youngest FIDE Master in the world! (FIDE stands for Fédération Internationale des Échecs, which literally translates to World Chess Federation).

Source and Image: en.wikipedia.orgSource and Image: en.wikipedia.org
7

The sports term rookies, which describes players in their first year, was derived from the rook in chess. Rooks generally are the last pieces to be moved into action.

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: commons.wikimedia.orgSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: commons.wikimedia.org
6

The folding chessboard was originally invented in 1125 by a chess-playing priest. Since the Church forbade priests to play chess, he hid his board by making one that looked simply like two books lying together.

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.orgSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.org
5

The first mechanical chess clock was invented by Thomas Wilson in 1883. Prior to that, sandglasses were used. Sandglasses were first used in London in 1862. The present-day push-button clock was first perfected by Veenhoff in 1900.

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: commons.wikimedia.orgSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: commons.wikimedia.org
4

In 1985, the Soviet player Garry Kasparov became the youngest World Chess Champion ever at the age of twenty-two years and 210 days. He’s widely considered by many experts to be the greatest chess player of all time. From 1986 until his retirement in 2005, Kasparov was ranked No. 1 in the world for 225 out of 228 months.

Source and Image: en.wikipedia.orgSource and Image: en.wikipedia.org
3

The longest tournament chess game (in terms of moves) ever to be played was between Nikolić and Arsović, in Belgrade in 1989, which lasted 269 moves and took 20 hours and 15 minutes to complete a drawn game. At the time this game was played, FIDE had modified the fifty-move rule to allow one hundred moves to be played without a piece being captured in a rook and bishop versus rook endgame, the situation in Nikolić versus Arsović. FIDE has since rescinded this modification.

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.orgSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.org
2

In theory, the longest chess game can go up to 5,949 moves.

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.orgSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.org
1

The number of possible unique chess games is greater than the number of electrons in the universe. The number of electrons is estimated to be about 10^79, while the number of unique chess games is 10^120.

Source: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.orgSource: Chess Facts And Fables (Book), Image: en.wikipedia.org

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