Chess

Article

July 6, 2022

Chess (from the old Provencal and Catalan escac, which in turn descends from the Persian شاه shāh, "king") is a strategy game that takes place on a square board called chessboard, made up of 64 squares (or "houses") of two alternating colors, on which each player has 16 pieces (white or black; translated, "White" and "Black" designate the two challengers): a king, a woman (or "queen"), two bishops, two horses, two towers and eight pedestrians; each square can be occupied by only one piece, which can capture or "eat" the opponent's piece by going to occupy the square; The objective of the game is to checkmate, that is, to threaten the capture of the opposing king so that the other player has no legal moves. probability thanks to the mediation of the Arabs; spread throughout the continent, they reached an almost modern form in the fifteenth century in Italy and Spain, although to arrive at the complete current regulation we must wait until the nineteenth century. Subsequently, starting from the mid-nineteenth century, thanks to Paul Morphy and Wilhelm Steinitz, the strategic foundations of the game began to be codified; in 1886 Steinitz himself, after a challenge against Johannes Zukertort, proclaimed himself the first world champion. Among the most popular games in the world, they can be played anywhere (at a recreational or competitive level): at home, outdoors, in dedicated clubs, via the Internet and sometimes by correspondence; the major official competitions are organized under the aegis of FIDE (the "International Chess Federation"). The game of chess is quite complex: it is estimated that the number of legally allowed combinations of the 32 pieces on the 64 squares of the chessboard is between 1043 and 1050, and that the size of the move tree is approximately 10123; the number of possible different games is about 101050.

Description and rules

The official rules of chess are defined internationally in the FIDE Handbook, Laws of Chess section, the last update of which was approved during the 88th FIDE Congress, held in Antalya, and adopted starting from 1 January 2018.

The chessboard

Chess is played on a square table, called "chessboard", divided into 64 squares, alternately light and dark, organized in 8 horizontal (or "cross") and vertical (or "column") rows: the crosspieces are numbered from 1 to 8 (respectively, base of the white and black pieces), while the columns are marked by the letters of the alphabet from "a" to "h". The chessboard must be oriented so that the square in the lower right corner of each player is clear. The squares of the chessboard in official competitions must have sides between 54.5 and 56 mm. The chess tables must have a minimum length double that of the chessboard, while the width must exceed that of the chessboard by 15-20 cm. 32 pieces move on the chessboard, of which 16 are white and 16 black. The chessboards and pieces used in official tournaments can be made of wood, plastic or materials with similar characteristics. There are also artistic chessboards with pieces in glass, stone, leather or metal, used, more than anything else, as decorative objects. The same chessboard can be used to play checkers; in this case, however, it is arranged in a different way. There are also travel versions that fold to form a box that holds the game pieces. In the 2000s, digital chessboards equipped with sensors capable of recognizing the execution of moves, capable of transmitting them to computers or automatically activating the clock, became widespread in the professional field. They are often used in tournaments to broadcast matches on on-site screens or online via the internet.

The pieces on the board

Each player available