How Many Books Has Lewis Carroll Written Including Math Books Chess Sets Online: The Long History Of Chess

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Chess Sets Online: The Long History Of Chess

In the novel Through The Looking Glass, the author, Lewis Carroll, describes much of his heroine’s adventures taking place in a dream world based on chess pieces. This story, published in 1871, reflects the interest in the game of chess that has existed for hundreds of years. This has led not only to many people being motivated to buy chess sets, but also to a fascination with the game, its strategies and traditions.

Some research indicates that a version of chess may have existed in China as early as the 2nd century AD, but the earliest records of the game exist in India, where it was played before the 6th century. From there, the game seems to have spread through Persia and then the Muslim world before reaching Europe. The game was originally known as ‘chaturanga’ in India and the chess pieces were divided into four military divisions: cavalry, elephant, chariot and infantry. These four divisions became knight, rook, bishop and pawn in the modern game.

Chess was mentioned in a Persian poem written in the 7th century and in several later poems and essays shortly thereafter. Known as Shatrang, the game had mystical connotations in India and Persia at this time.

It’s mind boggling to realize just how global the game of chess really is: it has individual names in most languages, including Sanskrit, Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Latin, Catalan, Italian, French, Dutch, Mongolian and Arabic. It was brought throughout the known world as far as Spain by the Moors and spread to the corners of Europe by 1000 and Buddhist pilgrims and Silk Road traders spread the game to the Far East.

Interestingly, chess pieces were often valued individually as gifts and ornaments in their own right. The modern trend of acquiring a carved chess set as a gift and room as well as part of a game to play seems to continue this tradition.

It seems likely that the game of chess came to Britain with the Norman Conquest of 1066 and, as in the rest of Europe, chess became a game associated with culture and nobility, but as it progressed At times the intensity created by playing chess could create violence. This was a problem that seemed to preoccupy the Church and in 1061 St. Peter Damian even criticized the bishop of Florence for playing chess. Perhaps inevitably the game became the focus of prize money and gambling during the medieval period, and as a result Louis IX of France banned gambling in 1254. However, the the French people ignored him and continued to bet money on chess games.

It was at the beginning of the 16th century that chess began to take its modern form. Before that time, the rules varied and the chess pieces could move in ways that would surprise us now. A Russian version gave the queen the ability to move like a knight.

Chess was played in London coffeehouses throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, in fact around 1840, when Britain formed its vast empire, London became the focus of the game’s growth. The first organized chess tournament appears to have taken place in London in 1851 and the winner was a German professor of mathematics, Adolf Andersson. In 1990 there were more than a thousand international tournaments.

Russian chess players tend to dominate the game, but this is not surprising when you consider that chess is the national sport of this country, where it is more popular than football.

Entire books have been written about the history of the game of chess, and indeed about the individual pieces and the stories and variations of the game are many and fascinating. Whenever you buy a chess set and pick up one of the chess pieces, it’s very easy to feel a connection to all those people throughout history who have done the same thing.

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