HISTORY OF CHESS
Findings at the Egypt pyramids provide us evidences that the chess was being played 4000 years ago from our present day. The archeological excavations carried out at different times also provide us findings that the chess was being played in China, Mesopotamia and Anatolia.
At the excavations carried out in today’s Turkmenistan, finding of chess pieces determined to be belonging to 150 AD and Kushan Turks gave rise to claims that the chess was firstly being played by Kushan Turks and taken to India by them.
First written documents about chess are the Sanskrit texts written at the time of Indian Emperor II. Chandragupta around 3 – 4 AD. In these texts the game is called as ‘Chaturanga’. Around 600, the game’s latest version of rules are thought be settled at Punjabi area and in the same century chess is thought to have been started to be played by the name “Sat-RanChu”.
Even though there are many research results about the appearance and popularization of chess, the earliest chess pieces found is in Afrasiyab and belong to 760 AD.; the first chess set is found in Turkistan, Neyshapur.
Pieces which resembled chess pieces are thought be found in the capital city of Kushan Empire Delvarzin –Tepe (100 AD). In some objective resources chess is told be brought to India by Kushan Turks. At an excavation carried out in an antic castle belonging to 2. century in South Uzbekhstan in 1972, chess pieces were found. Russian chess pieces specialist Linder says that they might not be chess pieces but maybe the primitive version of chess. Findings excavated in the castle moves the history of chess to an earlier time.
In the design and form of the chess pieces and chess board, it is thought that the symbols of balbal, tent, cupola and horse which have an important role in Turkish civilization played a major role. In XI. century a tusk chess set is found and named as the Seljuk chess set. This set is shown as an evidence for the chess pieces found in IX. and X. centuries that they belong to a chess set.
Chess sets are also found in settlements belonging to Turkish civilizations in various regions of Russia. Russian say that these pieces and boards are carried through Khazar Volga road. The pieces found in this region Show similarity with the pieces of Afrasiyab.
Monument belonging to Hun – Gokturk period in Mongolia is called “Shatırchulu”. The Turkish Word Shatır, Shatra, Shidira, Shatira and Shator mean Satranch (Chess).
There are findings showing that the chess was known by Persians in 6. century. A chess set was given to Persian Shah I. Husrev around 500 and that set was named as “Chatrang”. When it comes to 600, after the invasion of Persia by Arabs, the game was accepted in Arab-Islam World and started to be named as “Satranj”. The game also spread to Europe over Spain by Andalusians. All though there are opinions about the spread of chess to all of Europe over North Europe and East Roma Empire, it is mostly believed that chess was spread to Europe from Turkistan geography.
According to some resources, the first chess set in Europe was the chess set gifted to King of French Charlemagne by Khalif Harun Reşid. In various regions of Europe and Asia like Catalonia, Florence, Sicily, Polland, Britian, Holland, Norway, Albenia, Uzbekhstan and Afganistan, a lot of chess sets belonging to middle age and custom chess sets are found.
The Turkish type chess set found in Glasswreck in Bodrum Serçe Port shows that the chess has not just spread to Europe by Arabs but over Turkey also. After being popular amongst the nobility of Europe from 15. century, chess is called as the “game of the royal” here.
After Arab and European hand written books, in the first printed book of Spanish Lucena (1947) new rules of that time of the chess which are common today were present. There are also books of Spanish El Greco (17. century) and French Philodor (18. century). Even though the rules of chess and order of the pieces show variety through time, it took its today’s shape in 19. century.
After 1850s, chess tournaments with the attendance of strong players are organized. First World championship match was held between the strongest players of that time Steinitz and Zukertort. W. Steinitz became the first official world champion with 10 wins, 5 deuces and 5 defeats. Steinitz is also considered as the father of systematic chess playing concept.
Arslan Küçükyıldız, Yazar
Satrancın Tarihçesi, Türkiye Satranç Federasyonu, Erişim Tarihi: 31.09.2015