Interesting Facts About Chess
The history of chess spans nearly 15 centuries. During that time, fans of the legendary tabletop have played countless incredible matches. Some developed intricate strategies to outsmart their cunning opponents. Others viewed the activity as more of a creative process. To this day, professionals keep competing in international tournaments around the globe. Unsurprisingly, there is a lot of mystery and intriguing information surrounding the subject. This article is dedicated to the most interesting facts about chess. Reading about them may finally convince the uninitiated to try their hand at the game. But even long-time players will probably find out something they didn’t know before.
Unending Source of Astonishment
Attempting to summarize years of tradition, legacy, records, and anecdotes would be a fool’s errand. Nevertheless, there is a handful of highlights that both newcomers and connoisseurs tend to appreciate. Here are just a few examples that illustrate how great this intellectual sport actually is:
- The term ‘checkmate’ borrowed from Farsi translates as ‘the king is dead’
- The folding chessboard format was introduced by a priest trying to conceal his unbecoming hobby
- The longest ever 269-move game went on for 20 hours and concluded in a stalemate
- Theoretically, the maximum number of consecutive moves amounts to 5949
- There are more unique combinations (10120) than there are atoms in the whole universe
- The youngest person to earn the World Champion title was Garry Kasparov at 22
- Dr. Emanuel Lasker has remained the world champion for 27 years
- Several top players were involved in code-breaking operations during WWII
- Modern machine-learning algorithms powered by regular smartphones are capable of beating renowned grandmeisters
This list only scratches the surface of interesting facts about chess. This classy and stimulating pastime is a truly universal language that transcends nationalities and borders. Over time, an entire culture with its own lore and customs has formed around it. Due to its deep mechanics, the possibilities are virtually infinite. The delightful and often mind-blowing accounts are so numerous that reciting them all is impossible. Nevertheless, there are some rabbit holes worth investigating. Their brief descriptions may pique the readers’ interest and motivate them to discover more.
Fascinating Chess Stories to Explore
- Alan Turing, famous for cracking the Enigma code, also invented the first automated chess program. At the time, no computer could offer sufficient processing power to test it.
- On June 9, 1970, Soviet cosmonauts played the first game from outer space. The match between the Soyuz 9 crew and Earth ended in a draw.
- The last human to beat an advanced computer was Ruslan Ponomariov in 2005. Since then, the computational power has been steadily increasing, surpassing human intelligence in many ways.
- In 1973, a chess competition was raided by the Cleveland police due to gambling allegations. Several participants were detained, and the organizer was put under arrest.
- At one point, Nicholas MacLeod was the only player to beat Dr. E. Lasker. Nevertheless, he managed to lose a record 31 games in an 1889 New York tournament.
This humble introduction is a mere speck in a vast universe of chess-related insights. Perhaps, it will become a spark that will light the fire of curiosity. Inquisitive minds never fail to stumble upon new interesting facts about chess. Don’t hesitate to dive into the inexhaustible topic and become a true aficionado.