Friday, May 15, 2009

Chess origin and geography

THE origin of chess is a controversial subject. Some say Persia (Iran), China or India. Chess has been played and enjoyed by people around the world for 1,500 years. If there was an award for “game of the millennium,” it would belong to chess.

It was mentioned by a brave author that the inventor was a Brahman named Sissa in the 4th century in the court of one Rajah Balhait and was called Chaturanga.

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Some chess historians say the Philippines is one of the latest countries in which the game was introduced. They say that chess came to the Philippines in the 20th century just like in Madagascar.

This is obviously erroneous as our national hero, Jose Rizal, was an avid chess player.

My belief is that the Spaniards brought the game here in the 16th century as it was already popular in Spain as early as the 12th or 13th century.

In finding the origin of anything, historians look to literature to determine its existence in the period. According to hall of fame writer Bill Wall, the first written evidence of chess was found in Sanskrit romance “Vasavadatta,” written around 590.

Here is the chronology of the spread of chess before the year 1000.

Please note that the chess referred here is the Modern or European form.

600, first Persian writing of chess (chatrang) in the Persian romance, “Karnamuk.”

620, first introduction of chess into Egypt, by Khusrau II.

720, first 1st literary references of chess in Arabic occur in romantic poems.

735, first living chess played with people, in the Court of Charles Martel.

786, first caliph of Islam, ar-Rashid, to play chess and grant pensions to players.

790, first known chess piece of a carved King with Arabic inscription.

802, first reference of a woman chess player, from an Islamic correspondence.

810, first reference of chess among the Greeks, introduced to Nicephorus.

820, first introduction of chess in Russia.

840, first composed chess problem by the Caliph Billah of Baghdad.

910, first analysis and published works of chess openings by al-Lajlaj.

Here is how chess traveled according to some historians. From India, the game was introduced to China, Korea and Japan where it evolved into other forms in the 6th-11th century.

In the same period, it went to Persia, Kuwait, Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, Georgia, Ukraine and Armenia. Also in the same period, it was introduced to Russia.

From the 12th-15th century, the game traveled from Iran to Libya, Tunisia and Spain. Also, from Iran, it went to Burma,
Thailand, Borneo and the Malay peninsula.

From Spain, it was introduced to France, Italy and Germany and the whole of Europe. And from Spain, it was introduced to South America in the 15th century.

The game was brought by European immigrants into North America in the 16th or 17th century. The latest is Antartica in the 1950s.

There are other versions that point out that chess spread earlier than the dates mentioned above.

Rose Pharmacy’s annual chess tourney was played last weekend in A! Mall and the winner of the seven-round active format was Merben Roque with 6.5 points.

The runners-up were Joel Pacuribot, Leonardo Alidani and Bonn Tibod, who were all bunched up at six points. Kimkim Yap, Carlos Moreno, Ceferino Vizco and Aller Somosot were also the top finishers.

In the kiddies division, national age group 10 Under champion Rhenzi Kyle Sevillano won over Raymond Abellana in the last round to top with 6.5 points. Runners-up were Abellana, Marq Balbona, Jayson Ortouste and Godfrey Villamor.

Moreover, former Sun.Star Cebu sports editor and Cepca member Jobannie Tabada had a respectable 5/9 final result in the 2009 Dubai Open.

1 comment:

rolly said...

From what I know, chess in the Phils was introduced by the Muslim traders thru the South, long before the Spaniards came.

Correct me if Im wrong...