The exact origins of chess are uncertain, as it is believed to have evolved over a long period of time. However, the earliest predecessor of chess can be traced back to Northern India in the 6th century. The game known as chaturanga was played on an 8×8 board and featured different types of pieces, including the king, elephants (later replaced by bishops), horses (later replaced by knights), chariots (later replaced by rooks), foot soldiers (later replaced by pawns), and a counselor or vizier (later replaced by the queen).
From India, the game spread to Persia (modern-day Iran) and underwent further developments. The Persians called it “shatranj,” and it gained popularity in the Islamic world. Shatranj was then introduced to the Muslim Moors in Spain during the 9th century and gradually spread throughout Europe.
Over time, the rules and pieces of chess evolved. The game underwent significant changes during the 15th and 16th centuries, with the introduction of new rules, such as the movement of pawns on their first move and the ability of the queen to move across the board in multiple directions.
By the 19th century, the modern rules of chess, largely similar to the ones we know today, were established. The Staunton chess set, designed in 1849 by Nathaniel Cook and named after Howard Staunton, a prominent chess player of the time, became the standard set for international play.
Chess has since become one of the most popular and enduring board games worldwide, played and studied by millions of people of all ages and skill levels.