Chess is a game that has been around for centuries. Once reserved primarily for Kings and members of the upper classes, chess is now played by people of all ages and backgrounds from across the world.
Chess has a very clear set of rules regarding playing, movement, and winning the game. However, the rules have evolved a great deal from the time chess began, which is estimated to be around 6 AD in India.
The following is a brief overview of the history and evolvement of chess rules:
The first book of chess rules can be traced back to 1497 and was written by Luis Ramirez de Lucena. From the time of these first documented rules of chess to the present day, the only pieces whose movement rules have not changed are the king, the rook, and the knight. Originally, pawns were unable to move forward on their first move, as the rules clearly state today. In addition, they were not allowed to promote to a Queen, Bishop, Rook, or Knight upon reaching the eighth square, as they can now.
The queen was originally referred to as the “fers. ” The movements of this piece was restricted to one or two squares diagonally, forward, or to the left or the right.
The Bishop still moved on the diagonal, but was originally called the “alfil ” and could only move two spaces on the diagonal at a time.
During the middle ages, chess again saw some changes to the rules. At this point in time, “castling ” was introduced. Castling is a special move for the rook, and the King and has its own set of rules and circumstances as well.
Around the same time, pawns became able to move two squares forward on their first move. They also gained the option of promoting to a higher piece upon reaching the eighth rank, or square.
The last 200 years or so have also brought about numerous changes to chess rules, including:
•Stalemate. The option of declaring “stalemate ” was also eventually added as a rule, but it has been rescinded and re-added multiple times. Stalemate occurs when a player is not in check, but any move he makes would put him in check. When this is the case, the game ends in a draw.
•Fifty-move rule. In the beginning of the 20th century, the fifty move rule was introduced. This rule states that if no one has captured or been captured or no pawn has moved in fifty moves, a draw can be declared. Throughout the years this number has changed anywhere from twenty to 100 moves, but now the standard is fifty.
•Touch-move. Another new rule, the touch-move rule, was added to playbooks and states that the player must move the piece he or she touches.
Standards regarding rules, game play, and chess board size and pieces were also introduced. The standardized sizes of chess boards and pieces were introduced in 1849 with the Staunton chess board. This is still used as the standard in tournament play.
There are several main chess organizations, including FÃ©dÃ©ration Internationale des Ã‰checs and the United States Chess Federation. These organizations have their own set of rules, but they often are the same.
Chess rules have changed and evolved over time since the beginning of chess centuries ago.