Brief History of Chess
The earliest predecessor to chess, chaturanga, probably originated in India before the 6th century AD.
In the 8th century AD, the Arabic game shatranj was developed chaturanga.
Shatranj is the first game identifiable as chess.
By the 11th century AD, chess reached Europe though Muslim trade routes.
By the 15th century, chess survived a series of prohibitions from Christian and Islamic sanctions.
In late 1474, William Caxton (1415-1492), the first English
"The Game and Playe of Chesse."
It was thought for a time that this was
the first book published in the English language. However, Caxton published “Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye” a few months earlier in Bruges, Belgium.
In 1475, the first instance of a recorded game using modern rules and incorporating the Queen's new role was found in Valencia, Spain within a poem called "Scachs d´amor."
In 1497, Luis Ramirez de Lucena (1465-1530) published "Repetición de Amores y Arte de Ajedrez," the first book using modern chess.
In 1575, the first informal international chess tournament took place when Giovanni Leonardo da Cutri (1542-1587) and Paolo Boi (1528-1598) of Italy traveled to the court of Philip II in Madrid to play Ruy Lopez de Segura (1530-1580) and Alfonso Ceron (1535-1600?) of Spain. The Italians won the tournament.
In 1656, Francis Beale compiled Gioachno Greco's (1600-1634) manuscripts and published them in book form. The book, "Royall Game of Chesse Play," became the best selling chess book for the next century.
In 1747, Francois-Andre Danican Philidor (1726-1795) established himself as the leading player of his time by defeating Philipp Stamma (1705-1755) decisively. Two years later Philidor published his book "Analyse du jeu des échecs." This book supplanted that of Greco.
In 1769, Wolfgang von Kempelen (1734-1804) created the Turk, a chess automaton controlled by an operator cleverly concealed in its interior.
In 1786, Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) published the ‘Morals of Chess,’ the first chess article printed in America.
In 1802, “Chess Made Easy” became the first chess book published in America, published by James Humphreys in Philadelphia.
On July 8, 1813, the first chess column appeared in a
newspaper, the “Liverpool Mercury.”
In June-October 1834, Alexander McDonnell (1798-1835) and Louis-Charles de La Bourdonnais (1795-1840) played a grueling 85 game series of 6 matches that were held up as the pinnacle of chess play for a half century.
In 1836, “La Palamade” became the first chess magazine, edited by Labourdonnnais.
In 1844, chess was first played by telegraph, between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
In 1845, Charles Stanley (1819-1901) became the first U.S. chess champion after defeating Eugene Rousseau (1810-1870) in a match, held in New Orleans.
In 1849, the Staunton chess set was designed by Nathaniel
Cook and endorsed by Howard Staunton (1810-1874).
In 1851, the first official international tournament was held in London and won by Adolf Anderssen (1818-1879) of Breslau.
In 1854, the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club was formed in San Francisco. It is the oldest chess club in the United States.
In November 1857, Paul Morphy (1837-1884)
won the first American Chess Congress, held in New York. This was the first national tournament held
in the United States.
In 1858, Paul Morphy traveled to Europe and defeated all the top masters in Europe. Morphy was now considered the unofficial world chess champion.
In 1861, the first time limits, using sandglasses, were employed in a chess match between Adolf Anderssen and Ignatz von Kolisch (1837-1889).
In 1877, the Manhattan Chess Club was formed. The club closed in 2002.
In 1883, a mechanical double-faced chess clock was introduced in the London International tournament.
In 1886, William Steinitz (1836-1900) became the first official World Chess Champion by beating Johannes Zukertort (1842-1888). This was the first time a match was explicitly described as being for the World Championship. The match was played in New York, St. Louis, and New Orleans.
In 1889, Steinitz successfully defended his title against Mikhail Chigorin (1850-1908), held in Havana.
In 1892, Steinitz successfully defended his title against Mikhail Chigorin, held in Havana.
In 1894, Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941) defeated William Steinitz to become the 2nd World Chess Champion. The match was played in New York, Philadelphia, and Montreal.
In 1895, the first trans-Atlantic cable match was played between the United States and the United Kingdom.
In 1897, Lasker successfully
defended his title against Steinitz.
On January 23, 1897, Mary Rudge (1842-1919) won the first Women's International Chess Congress which was held in London.
In 1900, the first U.S. Open (Western Open) was held in Minnesota and won by Louis Uedemann (1854-1912).
In 1903, the first amateur movie about chess, ‘A Chess Dispute,’ was made.
In 1907, Lasker successfully defended his title against Frank Marshall (1877-1944).
In 1908, Lasker successfully defended his title against Siegbert Tarrasch (1862-1934). The match was held in Dusseldorf and Munich.
In 1909, Lasker successfully defended his title against Dawid Janowski (1868-1927).
In January-February 1910. Lasker successfully defended his title against Carl Schlechter (1874-1918).
In November-December 1910, Lasker
successfully defended his title against Dawid Janowski, held in Paris.
In 1912, Leonardo Torres y Quevedo (1852-1936) of Spain invented the first true chess automaton, El Ajedrecista. The machine moved its own Rook and King to mate its human opponent's lone King.
In 1913, Harold James Ruthven Murray (1868-1955) wrote
‘History of Chess,’
His 900 page book was based on 14 years of research using
original material from the best chess libraries, translated by specialists.
In 1920, Alexander Ilyin-Genevsky (1894-1941) initiated the politicized Soviet School Chess which would become the strongest force in chess during almost the entire 20th century.
In 1921, Jose Capablanca
(1888-1942) defeated Emanuel Lasker to become World
In 1924, FIDE, the international governing organization for chess, was established with Alexander Rueb (1882-1959) as its first president.
In 1925, the first film to deal exclusively with chess, ‘Chess Fever,’ was made in Moscow.
In 1927, the first official FIDE Chess Olympiad was held in London.
In 1927, the first Women’s World Chess Championship was won by Vera Menchik (1906-1944).
In November 1927, Alexander Alekhine defeated Jose Capablanca in Buenos Aires, Argentina to become World Chess Champion.
In November 1929, Alekhine successfully defended his title against challenger Efim Bogoljubow (1889-1952).
In 1933, the first issue of ‘Chess Review’ magazine was printed, edited by I.A. Horowitz (1907-1973).
In June 1934, Alekhine successfully defended his title against challenger Bogoljubow. The match was held in 12 German cities.
In December 1935, Max Euwe (1901-1981) defeated Alekhine to become World Chess Champion. The match was held in the Netherlands. This was the first world championship that officially had seconds.
In 1936, the first U.S. Chess Championship tournament was held in New York, won by Samuel Reshevsky (1911-1992).
In December 1937, Alekhine defeated Euwe in a re-match to regain his World Chess Championship title.
In 1939, the U.S. Chess Federation was formed.
In 1942, the first Swiss System tournament was held in the United States, the Texas Championship.
In September 1945, the first international sporting event held after World War II was the USSA-USA chess radio match.
In 1947, the first stamp with a chess theme was issued in Bulgaria.
In 1948, Mikhail Botvinnik (1911-1995) won the World Chess Championship match/tournament, which was held at The Hague and Moscow.
In 1949, Claude Shannon (1916-2001) wrote the first paper on
how a computer might play chess.
In 1950, Alan Turing (1912-1954) wrote the first computer chess program, TurboChamp, which he operated on paper since no computer capable of executing it had yet been built.
In 1950, FIDE established its first chess titles of grandmaster, international master and FIDE master.
In 1951, Botvinnik successfully defended his title against challenger David Bronstein (1924-2006).
In 1952, USSR participated in the Chess Olympiads for the first time. They would dominate for the next several decades.
In 1954, Botvinnik successfully defended his title against challenger Vasily Smyslov (1921-2010).
In 1957, Vasily Smyslov defeated Mikhail Botvinnik to become World Chess Champion.
In 1957, IBM programmer Alex Bernstein, created the first complete chess program at MIT.
In 1958, Botvinnik defeated Smyslov to regain his World Chess Champion title.
In 1960, Mikhail Tal (1936-1992) defeated Botvinnik to become World Chess Champion.
In 1960 - the USCF adopted the Elo rating system
In 1961, Botvinnik defeated Tal to regain his World Chess Champion title.
In 1963, Tigran Petrosian (1929-1984) defeated Mikhail Botvinnik to become the 9th World Chess Champion.
In 1966, Tigran Petrosian successfully defended his title against Boris Spassky (1937- ).
In 1967, MACHACK VI became the first computer to play in a chess tournament with humans.
In 1969, Boris Spassky defeated Tigran Petrosian in Moscow to
become the 10th World Chess Champion.
In 1970, FIDE adopted the Elo rating system, developed by Arpad Elo (1903-1992).
In September 1972, Bobby Fischer (1943-2008) defeated world champion Boris Spassky in Reykjavik, Iceland to become the 11th official World Chess Champion.
In 1974, the Russian program KAISSA won the first world computer chess championship.
In 1975, Anatoly Karpov (1951- ) became World Chess Champion after Bobby Fischer forfeited his crown.
In 1976, Grandmaster Viktor Korchnoi (1931- )defected from the Soviet Union.
In 1977, for the first time, a chess computer (CHESS 4.5)
won an open tournament, the Minnesota Open.
In 1978, Nona Gaprindashvili (1941- ) became the first woman awarded the title of GM.
In 1978, Karpov successfully defended his title in a match against challenger Viktor Korchnoi, held in Baguio, Philippines.
In 1981, Karpov successfully defended his title in a match against challenger Viktor Korchnoi, held in Merano, Italy.
In 1982, Yasser Seirawan (1960- ) became the first American to defeat a reigning world chess champion in a tournament, when he defeated Anatoly Karpov.
In 1983, a computer, for the first time, got an established master’s (over 2200) rating.
In 1984, World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov played a match against challenger Garry Kasparov (1963- ). After 48 games, the match was ended without result by FIDE President Florencio Campomanes (1927-2010).
On November 9, 1985, challenger Garry Kasparov defeated world champion Anatoly Karpove to become the new world chess champion. He was 22 years old at the time, making him the youngest ever World Champion up to that time. The match was held in Moscow.
In 1986, Kasparov successfully defended his title in a match against Karpov, hosted jointly in London and Leningrad.
In 1987, Kasparov successfully defended his title in a match against Karpov, held in Seville, Spain.
In 1988 Grandmaster Arnold Denker (1910-2005) became the first GM to lose to a chess computer in a tournament.
In 1990, Kasparov successfully defended his title in a match
against Karpov, held jointly in New York and Lyon,
In 1991, 15 year old Judit Polgar (1976- ) became youngest person (up to that time) to earn the GM title.
In 1993, FIDE world champion Garry Kasparov, along with Nigel Short, split from FIDE.
In 1993, Karpov reacquired the
FIDE World Champion title after defeating Jan Timman
(1951- ) in a match.
In 1995, the Internet Chess Club (ICC) formed from the free Internet Chess Server (ICS) as a pay site. ICC's success would serve as a model for Internet chess.
In 1996, Karpov successfully
defended his title in a match against Gata Kamsky (1974- ).
In 1997, Deep Blue defeated world champion Garry Kasparov in a match.
In 1998, Karpov won the FIDE World
Chess Championship tournament.
In 1999, Maurice Ashley (1966- ) became the first African-American to earn the title of GM.
In 1999, Alexander Khalifman (1966- ) became FIDE World Chess Champion, after winning the FIDE World Chess Championship tournament, held in Las Vegas.
In 2000, Viswanathan Anand (1969- ) won the FIDE World Chess Championship after defeating Alexei Shirov in a match held in Tehran, Iran.
In October 2000, Vladimir Kramnik (1975- )won the Classical World Chess Championship after defeating world champion Garry Kasparov in a match held in London.
In 2002, Ruslan Ponomariov (1983- )won the FIDE World Chess Championship after defeating Vassily Ivanchuk in a match. At age 18, he became the youngest person ever to become FIDE World Chess Champion.
In August 2002, Sergey Karjakin (1990- ) became the youngest grandmaster ever at the age of 12 years and 7 months.
In 2004, Kramnik successfully defended his Classical World Chess Champion title against challenger Peter Leko (1979- ) in a match held in Brissago, Switzerland.
In 2004, Rustam Kasimdzhanov (1979- ) became FIDE World Chess Champion after winning the FIDE World Chess Championship tournament, held in Tripoli, Libya.
In October 2005, Veselin Topalov (1975- ) became FIDE World Chess Champion by winning the FIDE World Chess Championship, held in San Luis, Argentina.
In October 2006, Kramnik defeated FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov in a unification match for the World Chess Championship.
In September 2007, Anand became world champion by winning the FIDE World Championship Tournament in Mexico City.
In 2008, Anand successfully defended his world champion title against Vladimir Kramnik in Bonn, Germany.
In 2010, Anand successfully defended his world champion title against Veselin Topalov in Sofia, Bulgaria.
In 2012, Anand successfully
defended his world champion title against Boris Gelfand
(1968- ) in Moscow.
In December 2012, Magnus Carlsen (1990- )of Sweden became highest rated chess player ever, with a rating of 2861, breaking Kasparov’s 13-year record of 2851.
On November 9, 2013, World champion Vishwanathan Anand met challenger Magnus Carlsen for the world championship in Chennai, India. On November 22, 2013, Carlsen won the match 6.5-3.5 to become the new world chess champion.
In Febraury 2014, Magnus Carlsen won the strongest chess tournament in history when he won the Zurich Chess Challenge. Its average rating was 2801!