When asked to name a favourite board game, the one that instantly springs to mind is Chess. This popular board game has been ruling the roost for nearly 1500 years and do you know where it originated from? Our very own India!
Chess started out as Chaturanga and was developed in the Gupta dynasty as early as the 6th century AD. It was designed as a strategy game and went on to initiate the board games of chess, sittuyin, xiangqi, makruk and janggi.
When the Arabs conquered Persia, the game of chess spread to Persia as well where it was adopted as shatranj. Taken up by the Muslim world, it spread to Southern Europe too.
The playing style of the game has evolved over the centuries from quick, tactical moves to long-time strategic planning. It was in late 19th century that chess was played in tournaments. In 1886, the first World Chess Championship was held and in the 20th century, the World Chess Federation (FIDE) was established.
Chess in the 21st century reached even greater heights, thanks to the online era. Use of computers for playing chess did begin in the 1970s when the first programmed chess game was introduced. Today the online versions do not need a board or a physical opponent making it a very popular pastime. As one die-hard fan of the game said, “Chess is like a virus which enters our system in different stages.” A survey showed that chess players today form one of the largest communities in the world. And Indians alone form an astounding 70 percent of this community!
Why not? After all, the game originated here.