Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fact File: Series 2: Chess

  1. Chess was primarily played by the upper classes of society and royalty, and thus became known as the game of kings.
  2. The rook is named from an Arabic word rukh, meaning chariot. During the Middle Ages when chariots were no longer in use, the rook was gradually modified to look more like the turret of a castle.
  3. Researchers think chess may have originated in India as a war game, chatarung, dating to as early as A.D. 600. Chess originated in India in the 6th century. It was called "chaturanga", which means literary "four divisions of the military". Another theory is that is started in China around the 2nd century BC. Chess reached Europe and Russia around the 10th century.
  4. The piece that is now the queen originally was the king's adviser. Europeans changed it to a queen, and it became the strongest piece on the board in the 1400s.
  5. The word “checkmate” came from the Persian phrase “shad mat.”, which means the king is defeated.
  6. Lewis Carrol’s novel “Through the looking Glass” was based on a chess game, just like Alice in Wonderland was based on playing cards.
  7. The Arabic world, the Chinese, and later the Europeans used the chessboard as a tool for calculating and a means for expressing mathematical concepts. In medieval England, financial accounts were settled on tables resembling chessboards. When the Normans created the royal office of collection for the crown, they called it the Exchequer, and its minister the “Chancellor of the Exchequer”, because the court originally used a checkered cloth to cover the table where judgments were made. Exchequer comes from Old French, where eschequier meant counting table, and eschec meant chess. This makes the "Chancellor of the Exchequer" literally the "Chancellor of the Chessboard!"

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