64 Squares. 32 Pieces. 2 Rivals. One Checkmate: The Evolution of Chess – Part 2
Posted on: February 7, 2018.

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The Moorish invasion of Spain in 711 A.D. brought with it the game of chess which subsequently spread throughout Western Europe. The Arab invasion of the city of Seville in Spain happened in 712 A.D., and the first literary reference to chess in Arabic appeared in 720 A.D.

Charles Martel, Duke and Prince of the Franks who ruled the region which is France today, introduced living chess around 735 A.D. with humans acting out the chess moves on a large 10-by-11 chessboard.

Chess is considered to have been introduced to China in 800 A.D. by Buddhists from India who travelled to foreign lands either to further their religion or escape persecution. Interestingly, Chinese chess was played using the intersections of the lines instead of whole squares, and their 9-by-10 chessboard was modified with the addition of a “celestial river”, akin to no man’s land, between its halves. Chinese chess had only five pawns to a side, with the addition of two cannons ahead of the knights, and a counselor on either side of the King.

The same year, chess reached Japan through Korea. Interestingly, the Japanese allowed captured pieces to change sides and rejoin the game against their old army at any vacant spot on the board. Chess made its way into Russia from Europe around 820 A.D. through the Caspian Sea-Volga River trade route—a hundred years after it had reached Western Europe!

While it was only in 9th century A.D. that chess became known to the West, it had spread throughout Europe by the 10th century—the checkered board with its light and dark squares was a European invention around 1100 A.D.

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