10 Interesting Facts About Chess

chess interesting facts
  1. Chess is a game with many, many options. Even after the first move (by each player), there are 400 different possible positions. This results in a further possible 72,084 different possible positions to end up in after two moves each. That’s certainly a lot to think about.
  1. Another way to look at this is the possible amount of variations in the first four moves for both players. This commonly worked out to be 318,979,564,000 potential combinations.
  1. How long can a chess game last? One of the longest recorded was between Ivan Nikolic and Goran Arsovic in 1989. It ended in a draw.
  1. How good is Computer AI? Deep Blue became one of the first machines to defeat a human, when it beat World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. Other computers have since gone on to occasionally defeat chess champions ever since.
  1. If you’ve ever wondered why there are bishops next to the King and Queen? Originally, the Indian variant used elephants and other versions are said to have represented ships or messengers. This later evolved into a bishop by the British, with some saying the church wanted representation next to royalty.
  1. Many of these changes came around in the Medieval period, where war and royalty were very important. This is when the Queen is said to become the more powerful piece she is today.
  1. In that case, why is a rook called a rook, when it’s a castle? The word comes from the Arabic version, where it is actually a chariot, or rukh in Arabic.
  1. Likewise, the word checkmate itself, used to announce final victory, comes from the Persian “shah mat”. Its translation? “The King is defeated”. A very apt description.
  1. Statistically speaking, Russia is the best at chess. Russia has the most International Masters and Grand Masters. Much of competitive chess history features many intelligent Russian chess players.
  1. The greatest chess player? That would arguably be Garry Kasparov. In 1985 he became a world champion at age 22, and held it until 1993. He has won various awards and titles since then but fell out with FIDE, the official world chess federation. Yet even Kasparov lost to a computer in 1997, so be careful when you set your chess AI to difficult.