Chess is a tactical game with Asian roots, where two opponents play against each other on a board using pieces with various abilities to move across the board. If a player moves a piece to a spot already occupied by a piece belonging to the opponent, the opponent´s piece is removed from the game. This is known as capturing a piece.
The modern version of Chess is played on a chequered board consisting of 32 white and 32 black squares which together form an 8 x 8 grid. One player has 16 white pieces and the other player has 16 black pieces. White always makes the first move in a game of chess.
The roots of chess go back to at least the 7th century, and the game is believed to have originated in India. Chess is related to the older game chaturanga, which in turn have links to Eastern strategy games such as xiangi, shogi and janggi.
In modern chess, each player has the following pieces when the game starts:
- 8 pawns
- 2 bishops
- 2 knights
- 2 rooks
- 1 queen
- 1 king
The goal is to attack you opponent´s king in a way that your opponent can not resolve by moving the king or any other piece. Such a situation is called checkmate and means that the game is over and a winner has been crowned.
You attack your opponent´s king by creating a situation where you can capture the king in the next move. This is called check. It is only when your opponent can not resolve the situation in one move that it becomes a checkmate and ends the game.
Even though chess is a very old game, chess tournaments is a fairly new invention. The first record of a chess tournament dates back to the mid-1800s when a chess tournament was organized in Leeds, England. The first international chess tournament took place at the 1851 Great Exhibition in London, England.
By the early 1900s, tournament chess had become so popular that it was suggested for inclusion in the Olympic Games. (The first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896.) This suggestion did not come to fruition; a separate Chess Olympiad was created instead.
The first Chess Olympiad was held in London in 1927, included players from 16 different nations and was won by Hungary. All the participating countries were European except for Argentina.
The Chess Olympiad is still active and is held every two years. Due to the Covid19 pandemic, the 2020 event was turned into an Online Chess Olympiad.
Chess tournament formats
Most chess tournaments are round-robin format or Swiss format.
Round-robin format: Each competitor plays against every other competitor an equal number of times.
Swiss format: Competitors are paired against each other based on a ranking system. This format is more common for large chess tournaments.
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Chess players who have reached a high enough level within tournament chess are awarded the title chess grandmaster (GM) by the world chess organization FIDE. The modern system for awarding this title is based on the Dorazil proposals, which were developed in the 1970s.
The term super grandmaster is only used informally. It typically refers to players who are World Champions or serious contenders for the championship title.