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Astonishing facts about Chess!
- There are more than a thousand trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion ways a chess game can be played. ( 10120). That is more than the number of electrons in the universe
- Lewis Carrol’s novel “Through the Looking Glass” was based on a chess game, much the way “Alice in Wonderland” was based on playing cards
- The rook is named from an Arabic word rukh, meaning chariot. During the Middle Ages, when chariots were no longer in use, the rook was gradually modified to look more like the turret of a castle.
- The folding chess board was invested by a priest.
- The word “checkmate” comes from the Persian phrase “shah mat,” which means “the king is defeated.”
Why not know some more!
- Chess was invented in India
- The word tabiya used to refer to the initial position, however, over the years it has come to describe critical points during play at which players decide the future course of the game.
- Kasparov became the youngest ever world champion at the age of 22. (Ruslan Ponomariov was younger but he was not the undisputed champion in the same way that Kasparov was, and Chiburdanidze was also younger but she ‘only’ won the women’s title.)
- FIDE uses the category rating of tournaments to determine how well someone must do in a tournament to achieve a Grandmaster (or other) title. The highest category tournament seen so far is a category 22. This indicates that the average elo rating of the players was between 2776 and 2800 (in fact the average rating of this tournament in Frankfurt was 2781).
- The largest simultaneous displays usually take place in Cuba. In 2005 the previous record of 11,000 people playing against over 500 masters was broken with the new record standing at 13,500 people playing against over 600 masters.
Certain questions can’t be left unattended!
- In 1561 Ruy Lopez de Segura, a Spanish priest, wrote a book called “Libro de la invencion liberal y arte del juego del Axedrez” which translated into English means “Book of liberal invention and the art of the game of chess”. It was the first complete study of the game. The Ruy Lopez opening is of course named after him as he was the first to analyse it in detail.
- The shortest number of moves necessary to achieve checkmate from the beginning of the game is 2. The sequence is called fool’s mate and runs 1. g4 e5, 2. f4 Qh4 checkmate. However, the shortest game of chess to have been played was probably that between Fischer and Panno in 1970 which went 1. c4, black resigns. Panno resigned as a protest against scheduling. Fischer tried convince him to resume but to no avail. This win was part of Fischer’s 20-game streak.
- It’s difficult to say what the longest game of chess ever is, but the game played between Nikolic and Arsovic in 1989 must be a contender at a mammoth 269 moves. To our knowledge, the second longest game was played in 2004 between Herrera and Gonzalez and lasted for 211 moves.
- If you put one grain of wheat on the first square of the chessboard, two on the second, four on the third, eight on the fourth, and so on, then, in order to complete the pattern you will need to put nine trillion two hundred and twenty three thousand three hundred and seventy two billion thirty six thousand eight hundred and fifty four million seven hundred and seventy five thousand eight hundred and eight (9,223372,036854,775808) grains of wheat on the sixty fourth square, which is quite a lot. (Using old-fashioned English billions and trillions and not modern US billions and trillions).