Random Facts about the Origins of Chess
THE ORIGINS OF CHESS
So ancient is chess, the most purely intellectual of games, that its origin is wrapped in mystery. The Hindoos say that it wad the invention of an astronomer, who lived more than 5,000 years ago, and was possessed of supernatural knowledge and acuteness. Greek historians assert that the game was invented by Palamedes to beguile the tedium of the siege of Troy. The Arab legend is that it was devised for the instruction of a young despot, by his father, a learned Brahman, to teach the youth that a king, no matter how powerful, was dependent upon his subjects for safety. The probability is that the game was the invention of some military genius for the purpose of illustrating the art of war. There is no doubt, that it originated in India, for a game called by the Sanskrit name of Cheturanga--which in most essential points strongly resembles modern chess, and was unquestionably the parent of the latter game--is mentioned in Oriental literature as in use fully 2,000 years before the Christian area. In its gradual diffusion over the world the game has undergone many modifications and changes, but marked resemblances to the early Indian game are still to be found in it. From India, chess spread into Persia, and thence into Arabia, and the Arabs took it to Spain and the rest of Western Europe.