Get to Know the Chessboard: Origins, Development and Variants

Posted by Staunton Castle on June 30th, 2022

The chess and checkers board can be made of the most diverse materials, of different colours and sizes. Why is this board used all over the world? What is the story? Where is it born?

Well, sure thing: the chessboard is old. Too old. Like the vast majority of historical board games, its origin lies in the darkness of legends and myths. If you're ready to learn the secrets of the chessboard, it's time to get comfortable, have your pieces at hand and start reading.

History of the chessboard

The boards for table games date back to approximately the 3rd century BC. The first records are kept of races, such as backgammon, which consist of running out of chips before the rival. The earliest antecedent of the chess board comes from a game called Chaturanga . The board was 8 columns and 8 rows, but it was monochrome and had special markings on some squares.

In the 10th century, the game arrived in Europe at the hands of the Muslim invasions of the Iberian Peninsula. It seems that in the Siberian region it acquires both colours and the convention that a1 is black as we know it today on the professional chessboard. However, archaeological sources are not enough to be sure.

Between 1252 and 1284, the Spanish King Alfonso X “El Sabio” ordered The Book of Games to be written. Known as the most important historical document to study the development of the game and the chessboard. It is then that the pieces acquire the shapes and names that we know and use to this day. If you are interested in going through them, we recommend you go through this note in which we study what they are and how they work.

Sitting in front of the chessboard and playing a few games is one of the many ways in which some of us find moments of relaxation. If you want to expand your options, I invite you to review our guide with tools and activities to combat stress and anxiety at home.

The origin of chess has a curious legend. It says that a Wise Man invented it at the request of a King who wanted to distract himself from the death of his son. The day the Sage left, the King told him to ask him for a gift. The Wise Man asked for a grain of wheat for the first square of the chessboard, two for the second, four for the third, thus doubling the previous value for each one of the 64 squares.

The King believed that the Wise Man was making fun of his generosity, so he got a good surprise when his mathematicians told him that it was not enough with all the wheat in the world to pay that request. The legend serves to show in a simple way all the mathematical secrets that the chessboard keeps inside.

Chess board materials

In official FIDE (International Chess Federation) tournaments, the chessboard has to be made of wood and, in some cases, plastic. What you should know is that it should always be rigid.

However, to play it as a hobby, you can use boards made of glass, marble, soapstone and even leather. This last alternative is ideal if we want to have a mobile chessboard with us. Logically, today, the best known is the virtual chessboard, and the Internet is full of chessboards to print and chessboards to draw.

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Staunton Castle
Joined: February 17th, 2021
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